Pac-12 won't immediately follow Big Ten's lead; wildfires are roadblocks

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Follow the leader? Not this time. At least, not right now.

The Pac-12, which announced it was shutting down fall sports on Aug. 11, the same day as the Big Ten, has no imminent plans for reinstating football.

While the Big Ten announced Wednesday it was starting its football season the weekend of Oct. 23-24, the Pac-12 issued a statement saying it has additional complications. Among them: Executive orders by the governors of California and Oregon, prohibiting contact sports.

The Pac-12 announced a change in its championship game.

But both California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown responded later Wednesday, saying they would not prohibit the Pac-12 from playing games. Newsom said he had spoken with Scott.

"We are eager for our student-athletes to have the opportunity to play this season as soon as it can be done safely and in accordance with public healthy authority approvals," the Pac-12's commissioner, Larry Scott, said in two statements, one early Wednesday and one later Wednesday.

The Big Ten and Pac-12 had been the lone Power Five conferences to shut down fall sports. Now, the Pac-12 stands alone. The ACC and Big 12 started play last week, with the SEC set to start later this month.

The Pac-12 has resolved its COVID-19 testing issues, signing an agreement with Quidel Corporation to provide thousands of tests.

Six of the Pac-12's schools are in either California or Oregon. Another two are in Washington. California, Oregon and Washington also are battling massive wildfires.

"We are equally closely monitoring the devastating fires and air quality in our region," Scott said.

Twitter: @tonypaul1984