“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 health authority approvals,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement.
Not to be missed: Meanwhile, NCAA officials issued a flurry of decisions about resuming college basketball this fall at the country’s highest-profile programs — even while it also set springtime championship dates for hundreds of smaller-college football teams that cut off their fall seasons amid the pandemic.
Division I men’s and women’s basketball contests can begin Nov. 25, the NCAA announced. That’s when officials said at least 75 percent of those schools will have concluded their fall semesters, or moved remaining classes and exams online.
The two-week delay from the original Nov. 10 start date, the NCAA said, will create “a more controlled and less populated campus environment” that may reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19 between athletes and the broader student body.
“The new season start date near the Thanksgiving holiday provides the optimal opportunity to successfully launch the basketball season,” NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt said in a statement Wednesday.
Gavitt described the schedule as a “grand compromise of sorts that focuses on the health and safety of student-athletes” who can now look ahead to lucrative March Madness basketball championships.
Teams could qualify for the tournament if they play at least 13 games against another Division I opponent, the NCAA said. Full Division I hoops practices can begin on Oct. 14.
Background: Newsom insisted Wednesday that California’s coronavirus rules do not prohibit NCAA football, responding to statements from a powerhouse program and the Pac-12 conference that portrayed the governor as a major roadblock to starting the season.
“There’s nothing in our guidelines that prevent these games from occurring,” Newsom told reporters, adding that schools “can resume football. There’s nothing in the guidelines saying the Pac-12 cannot move forward.”
Elsewhere on the Pacific coast, Brown’s office said Oregon and Oregon State University’s athletic departments can now submit written plans for their fall football seasons to the Oregon Health Authority for approval. A spokesperson for Brown said the state had not received “written operating procedures for approval” from the Pac-12 and can’t move forward without them.
“We want Oregon and Oregon State’s players to be able to focus on football while protecting their health and safety. We also want to ensure that team practices will not be derailed by a COVID-19 outbreak that would threaten the health not only of the players and coaches, but of their university communities and the wider communities in Eugene and Corvallis,” spokesperson Charles Boyle said in a statement.