Count the Pac-12 among the college conferences reducing its 2020 schedule because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Pac-12 announced Friday its schools plan to only play conference games in several sports this fall, including football. The start date for mandatory activities has also been delayed "until a series of health and safety indicators, which have recently trended in a negative direction, provided sufficient positive data to enable a move to a second phase of return-to-play activities."
The move eliminates 36 games among the 12 teams and comes on the heels of the Big Ten being first in the Power Five to adopt a conference-only slate for the fall. With matchups between Oregon-Ohio State and Washington-Michigan already canceled, the Pac-12's decision wipes out notable games between USC-Alabama, USC-Notre Dame, Stanford-Notre Dame and Cal-Texas Christian, among others.
"The health and safety of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports continues to be our number one priority," Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement. "Our decisions have and will be guided by science and data, and based upon the trends and indicators over the past days, it has become clear that we need to provide ourselves with maximum flexibility to schedule, and to delay any movement to the next phase of return-to-play activities."
The conference noted that all student-athletes who elect not to participate in the upcoming academic year because of safety concerns will remain on scholarship and "in good standing with their team." The Pac-12 plans to announce new schedules for the 2020 season "no later than July 31."
"This decision doesn't suggest we're playing this fall," Oregon State athletic director Scott Barnes told reporters. "This decision suggests that collectively we're unified in moving forward with Pac-12 competition if our local and state health authorities tell us it's OK."
Barnes added that moving the football season to the spring is "on the table." Earlier this week, the Ivy League canceled all fall competition.
The Pac-12 later announced Friday that Scott has tested positive for COVID-19 after experiencing mild flu-like symptoms and is "self quarantining at the direction of his physician."