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Cal Football

Scott Says Football Could Start in Late October

September 17, 2020
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The situation around the Pac-12 playing football -- will they or won’t they? -- might be coming into focus.

Commissioner Larry Scott, who has been relatively silent on the subject since announcing the “game-changer” agreement on COVID-19 testing, said on Thursday football could happen as early as late October.

The Pac-12, which last month said all fall sports were postponed until January, is softening its stance, prompted no doubt by the Big 10’s announcement Wednesday that it was going to play football, after all. 

Appearing on ESPN Sports Center, Scott said, “Getting the local county approvals as soon as possible would allow our student-athletes and our coaches to start what we think of as normal practice. Then the best scenario is six weeks of practice, training camp and starting (games at) the end of October, early November. But that's still subject to county approvals, which we don't have yet."

In Cal’s case, that means the city of Berkeley and Alameda County. How fast and far those entities will be willing to move is anyone’s guess. But Scott’s tone indicated he was hopeful. One reason might be that governors Kate Brown of Oregon and Gavin Newsom of California lifted the respective state restrictions on Wednesday.

Jon Wilner of the Bay Area News Group wrote, “If all goes well, the conference could restart its football season in late October or early November, bringing it into general alignment with the Big Ten, ACC, SEC and Big 12 during the season’s finishing stretch.”

Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports reported that Pac-12 representatives met on Thursday and took a survey of how soon the teams could be up and running. And a vast majority said they’d be ready for competition in six weeks assuming they could begin ramping up toward that goal by Monday.

However, there were some contradictory reports. Bruce Feldman of The Athletic quoted an unnamed Pac-12 athletic director as saying being able to re-start in late October “ain’t happening.”

One reason might be how far the conference has to go to get “game ready.” The Big 10 said it plans to begin playing Oct. 23, but teams in that conference had been holding some forms of practice for the last few weeks. Most Pac-12 teams will be starting from scratch whenever they are allowed to hit the field as a group.

The Big 10’s schedule is designed to finish on Dec. 19, one day before the College Football Playoff selection show. 

The Pac-12  CEO committee is expected to meet on Friday to discuss the next steps. If that group does not vote to begin practices immediately we can kiss fall football in the Pac-12 goodbye.

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