Last week, the Pac-12 made an announcement that commissioner Larry Scott called a “game changer” when it comes to playing sports during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to a partnership with Quidel, every Pac-12 campus will receive a machine capable of testing student athletes every day, with results available in as little as 15 minutes.
That sounds great! ... But what does it really mean.
On Tuesday, Scott joined the Rich Eisen show to break down some of the specifics and discuss when exactly we could be seeing the Pac-12 back in action.
“By taking (tests) every single day and getting the immediate result, it’s believed with a much higher degree of confidence you can keep anyone that’s got the virus from practice,” Scott told Eisen. The science is still out, but the conference is hoping to show that this kind of strict testing can identify positives well before they spread to their teammates.
Scott said that the original estimate was that they would not have this kind of testing until the end of November, which is why the January 1 date was put in place.
While the testing capabilities are a breakthrough, it’s not the only thing the Pac-12 is working through right now.
“We’ve got 6 of our schools (in California and Oregon) that don’t currently have approval from health officials to have contact practices,” Scott said. “I’m hoping this testing arrangement will give the public health officials more confidence that the student-athletes are not in harms way engaging in football practice because they are being tested daily.”
Currently the Pac-12 has said they will not play any sport until January 1, but Scott told Eisen that if they get clearance from state officials, “there is a possibility of starting earlier than January first.”
In the end, the conference is waiting for those officials to give them the go ahead to practice. If that happens, Scott says a return to the field will move quickly from there.
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