Cal Football

Pac-12 and Big 10 Canceling Football this Fall

August 10, 2020

The Pac-12 will not play football this fall.

In a decision that had been a foregone conclusion for the last several days the conference CEO Group voted unanimously on Tuesday to put off all sports until at least Jan. 1, 2021 because of the coronavirus. It came just about an hour after the Big 10 reached the same conclusion.

Both conferences left open the possibility of playing some sort of football schedule in the spring.

"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," said Michael H. Schill, president of the University of Oregon, speaking for the group.. "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."

In a statement Cal said that the athletes affected by the decision would have their scholarships honored and would continue to receive academic advising, tutoring and other support services. The school also voiced hope the NCAA would grant an extra year of eligibility to those affected.

The loss of the football revenue, the bulk of which comes from broadcasting, could be devastating. A majority of the funding for the entire athletic program is generated by football, which brings in an estimated $50 million. However, in a Zoom call with reporters, athletic director Jim Knowlton said that as of now, there were no plans to cut any of the 30 Cal sports. 

© Kelley L Cox USA Today
Knowlton and Wilcox in happier times

“One of the things about this pandemic is that is really sort of a short-term problem,” he said. “We were humming along with a budget that I was proud of, revenue we were generating with development and fundraising, we were doing an incredible job before this pandemic hit. …I believe in 12, 18 months from now we are going to be back in that same spot. And you hate to make long-term decisions for a relatively short-term problem.... When you cut a sport you have to go four or five years to see the benefits. You’ve got coaches, you’ve got scholarships. There are lots of pieces to it.”

The conference reportedly has a massive loan fund available to help schools get through this period. 

“We are going to evaluate it,” Knowlton said of the loan program. “We are going to evaluate multiple options of how we can continue to meet our numbers for our budget this year.”

Knowlton also pointed out that if football is played in the spring, some of that $50 million could be recouped. 

Until recently the conference held out hope that a truncated football season was possible. On July 31 it released a 10-game conference-only schedule. But in recent days with COVID-19 cases increasing nationwide and new some scary new findings, it became obvious playing was unrealistic given the risks involved.

The Pac-12 schools had been following both the conference and state and local COVID-19 guidelines which seemed to be working. But things turned quickly.

The conference leaders heard from doctors who informed them of the link between myocarditis and COVID-19. Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle often associated with viral infections and has been linked closely to COVID-19.  It can be fatal, even to young, fit athletes.”n. 

"Unlike professional sports, college sports cannot operate in a bubble," commissioner Larry Scott 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."

Cal head coach Justin Wilcox and several players made statements through the athletic department. . .

“The COVID-19 pandemic has obviously put all of us in an incredibly difficult and complex situation,” Wilcox’s statement read. “I am disappointed for our student-athletes that there will not be a Pac-12 football season this fall. They have had a great attitude through all of this uncertainty. But our ultimate responsibility is to keep everyone involved in our program as healthy and safe as possible.

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
Justin Wilcox

“We have listened to and been guided by the advice of our health experts throughout this process, and our presidents and chancellors have had to make difficult decisions. Even though there will not be Pac-12 football games this fall, we must continue to help our student-athletes remain healthy and safe, and we look forward to playing football when we are given the green light to do so."

Senior cornerback Cam Bynum said, “To say the least, I am extremely saddened by the news of our college football season being postponed. I love the game more than anything and would love to play ball as soon as possible, but with everything going on, it is out of my control. As we are all hit hard by the news, we will stay positive and be grateful that we are in good health and want to keep it that way as we are temporarily away from the game that we love.”

Quarterback Chase Garbers had a similar take. "My teammates and I are obviously devastated that we will not play football for the remainder of 2020. Ultimately the Pac-12 officials agreed that student-athlete health was at risk to play this year, and although we want to play we also want to know that we can do so safely. This year has been a roller coaster, but one thing we do know is that us Bears will stick together and come out stronger in the end.” 

Chancellor Carol Christ and Knowlton had a joint statement of their own.

It read in part: "We are aligned in our support for the Pac-12's decision to postpone fall Wesports. While the decision was difficult, it is consistent with our shared commitment to the health and well-being of Cal's student-athletes, coaches and staff.”

The Big 10 and the Pac-12 are the only two Power 5 conferences to cancel fall sports. The ACC and Big 12 are said to be wavering. Statements from the SEC indicate it will do its best to play football as scheduled.

For Cal, the other sports losing the fall season are men's and women's soccer, volleyball, men’s water polo, field hockey, men’s and women’s cross country and rugby 7s. And other sports such as golf and swimming typically have events in the fall. And if the Jan. 1 deadline is hard and fast, it will have an effect on winter sports, most notably men’s and women’s basketball.

The conference had talked about a 20-game, conference only season for the basketball teams. 

“We are just beginning to look at it (basketball) based on the decision that was made today,” Knowlton said. “Now that we have a decision on the fall sports we can sit down and being to put the plan in place for basketball.”


Discussion from...

Pac-12 and Big 10 Canceling Football this Fall

1,969 Views | 4 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by dimitrig
How long do you want to ignore this user?
In the Fall of 2020, Cal Football went undefeated.
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Horrible for all athletes in all sports who by definition have a limited shelf life.

Let me go on record by saying....

How long do you want to ignore this user?
It sucks. Our daughter rowed D1 crew and lost her senior season this past spring. She was devastated and felt robbed after years of hard work, diet and training. It is amazing how hard crew teams train.

She was mature enough to say that her loss was nothing compared to people who lost loved ones and people who lost their jobs due to the virus.
How long do you want to ignore this user?
RJABear said:

It sucks. Our daughter rowed D1 crew and lost her senior season this past spring. She was devastated and felt robbed after years of hard work, diet and training. It is amazing how hard crew teams train.

She was mature enough to say that her loss was nothing compared to people who lost loved ones and people who lost their jobs due to the virus.

Tell her to take it out on The Donald who said that this would go away on its own.

Page 1 of 1
subscribe Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.