Following the announcement that the Big Ten had become the first Power 5 conference to cancel football for the fall of 2020, the PAC-12 athletic conference has quickly become the second.
The official PAC-12 statement:.
The Pac-12 CEO Group voted unanimously to postpone all sport competitions through the end of the 2020 calendar year.
The decision was made after consultation with athletics directors and with the Pac-12 COVID-19 Medical Advisory Committee who expressed concern with moving forward with contact practice.
The report and updated guidelines of the Committee can be found here: Pac-12 COVID-19 Return to Play Considerations – Aug. 10, 2020 and a full list of Committee members can be found here: Pac-12 Medical Advisory Committee. The Conference also announced that when conditions improve, it would consider a return to competition for impacted sports after January 1, 2021.
Student-athletes impacted by the postponement will continue to have their scholarships guaranteed. Additionally, the Pac-12 Conference strongly encourages that the NCAA grant students who opt out of competition this academic year an additional year of eligibility. As part of their guaranteed scholarships, they will continue to have university support, including academic advising and tutoring, among other support services.
“All of the Pac-12 presidents and chancellors understand the importance of this decision, and the disappointment it will create for our student-athletes, the coaches, support staff and all of our fans,” Michael H. Schill, president of the University of Oregon, said.
“Ultimately, our decision was guided by science and a deep commitment to the health and welfare of student-athletes. We certainly hope that the Pac-12 will be able to return to competition in the New Year.”
“The health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports has been our number one priority since the start of this current crisis,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said. “Our student-athletes, fans, staff and all those who love college sports would like to have seen the season played this calendar year as originally planned, and we know how disappointing this is.”
Scott noted that while the Conference’s detailed plan to keep student-athletes safe was working in accordance with the Pac-12 COVID-19 Medical Advisory Committee guidelines and state and local government orders, the situation was becoming more challenging: “Unlike professional sports, college sports cannot operate in a bubble,” he said.
“Our athletic programs are a part of broader campuses in communities where in many cases the prevalence of COVID-19 is significant. We will continue to monitor the situation and when conditions change we will be ready to explore all options to play the impacted sports in the new calendar year.”
“We know that this is a difficult day for our student-athletes, and our hearts go out to them and their families,” Scott added. “We have made clear that all of their scholarships will be guaranteed, and that as a Conference we are strongly encouraging the NCAA to grant them an additional year of eligibility.”
The PAC-12 boasts relatively few Canadian players but University of Oregon defensive back Jevon Holland is one of the most prominent in the entire NCAA. The Burnaby-born son of former CFL player Robert Holland is an explosive play-maker who is projected to be selected in the first round of next year’s NFL draft. He has been at the forefront of pushing for players’ rights and will now have to wait until spring to cement his pro status.
Oregon linebacker Nick Wiebe and California kicker Gabe Siemeniec will also be affected. Arizona recruits Lief Maguson and Paris Sand, as well as UCLA recruit Kenny Mestidor, will also have to wait before experiencing college football for the first time.