Pac-12 will make decision Thursday on 2020 football season

Jon Wilner
San Jose Mercury News

Pac-12 football in 2020 remains on hold.

The university presidents and chancellors did not vote Friday on a return to competition but will reconvene Thursday for a final decision.

“The Pac-12 CEO Group had an informative and productive meeting earlier today,” the conference said. “We plan to reconvene this coming Thursday, September 24 to make a decision regarding possible return to play prior to January 1.

The Pac-12 will make a call Thursday about the 2020 football season.

“The health and safety of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports will continue to be our number one priority in all of our decision making.”

It is widely expected that they will approve a fall season with Nov. 7 as the start date and the conference championship on Dec. 19.

The CEOs also declined Friday to approve a return for Pac-12 basketball, which has been postponed through 2020.

However, with the NCAA pushing the season back two weeks, to Nov. 25, the conference likely will revise its calendar to align with the rest of major college basketball.

Meanwhile, the Pac-12 is the only member of the Power Five currently in football purgatory.

The ACC and Big 12 are underway. The SEC’s season starts next week, and the Big Ten announced Wednesday that it will open the weekend of Oct. 23-24.

The Pac-12 has been dealt a more difficult course back to the field with the wildfires across the West, the level of coronavirus spread in some regions of the conference and, until this week, the state health restrictions in California and Oregon.

The conference’s medical experts believe that point-of-care antigen tests, scheduled to arrive at the end of this month, will keep the players safe.

Another issue central to any revised calendar is the time required for the players to prepare physically for a season.

The medical advisors have indicate six weeks would be needed. In order to play on Halloween, teams would have to start training next week.

Given that the presidents haven’t officially approved a restart — and won’t do so until Sept. 24 — it’s unlikely the season will start at the end of October.

For teams with large numbers of players living at home during the sports shutdown — players who must quarantine upon returning to campus — the Nov. 7 is more reasonable.

Teams would have six weeks of regular-season play prior to the championship game.