Pac-12 To Play Shortened College Football Season This Fall

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The Pac-12 will play a seven-game conference football season beginning November 6th. The decision, voted on by the Pac-12’s CEO group on Thursday, represents an official reversal of their postponement announced in August. It said all sports would be shutdown until at least January 1st 2021, citing COVID-related health concerns.

Commissioner Larry Scott’s Statement

“This has been the result of what we said back in August, that we’d follow the science, follow the data, follow the advice from our medical experts,” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said. “We know how badly our student-athletes want to compete, as student-athletes for the Pac-12, but that we would only do so when we felt that we could do so safely.”

Status Of Other Sports

In a release, the Pac-12 said men’s and women’s basketball can begin November 25th. Other winter sports will begin in line with their respective NCAA seasons. Utah athletic director Mark Harlan said other fall sports, such as cross country, soccer and volleyball, will continue to plan for a spring season. The Pac-12 move comes in the wake of a similar announcement last week from the Big Ten. It will start the football season October 24th.

How The Season Will Look

Every Pac-12 team will play the five opponents in its division, plus a divisional crossover game, prior to the December 18th conference championship. The teams that do not qualify for the title game will play an additional conference game against a squad from the opposite division. The Pac-12 will release its full schedule of games in the next few days. 

The Pac-12 has received no indication it would be ineligible for the College Football Playoff due to its reduced schedule. Even if the Pac-12 doesn’t have a team worthy of inclusion in the four-team field, the eligibility component is important. Last season, there was a $66 million base payout to each of the Power 5 conferences.

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