By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Two of the Power 5 Conferences are holding out. But, the Pac-12 Conference play return to play sooner than the spring season.
In fact, with this advanced testing, they could potentially play during the fall season, according to KTLA. The conference announced on Thursday that they now have the capacity to do daily, rapid testing for the coronavirus on its athletes.
Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott insists that the deal with Quidel Corporation is a “game-changer.” The athletes will be tested and school officials will have the rests back within 15 minutes.
This could lead the team playing in the fall instead of its previously Jan. 1, 2021 date.
“This is a very important and significant step, but there are other considerations that will go into our return-to-play plans,” Scott said.
The conference has six teams, who are not able to practice, due to mandates by their states in California and Oregon to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Yet, sports teams in California has been given permission to practice with their upcoming start on Sept. 13.
“Even if we were ready to start tomorrow we couldn’t,” Scott said. “There’s more to be done for sure in terms of working with health officials.”
Scott said that the tests could be available to the schools by the end of Sept. In August, the conference canceled its season after they claimed that their medical professionals said it was unsafe to play.
These doctors said that they would not recommend having tests that could the teams that a player tested positive a week later. They wanted daily tests and they were able to get it with this deal.
All of the Pac-12 Conference teams will be able to test on a daily basis with this rapid test when it becomes available to them.
“Having the opportunity and ability to identify and immediately remove someone who has the potential to be infected prior to stepping on the practice field really reduces the risk and removes the gap that currently exists with traditional laboratory testing,” said Dr. Doug Aukerman from Oregon State. He leads the Pac-12′s medical advisory committee.
This gives the teams hope that their seasons could be played in the fall once again. And basketball could be played starting in November.
“So I’m very optimistic that we’ll have a season,” Washington basketball coach Mike Hopkins said. “I think we definitely will, especially with the way that this testing and this partnership is moved forward.”
The Big Ten Conference canceled their fall sports season on the same day as the Pac-12 Conference. However, there has been pushback with their decision, as Justin Fields and other players want to play.
Even President Donald Trump had a conversation with Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren to help get their players back onto the field.
“Not only, for our student athletes, could we have a Pac-12 championship game and champion, but it’d be awesome to have some of the traditional postseason opportunities the Pac-12 and Big Ten have enjoyed with each other over many, many decades,” Scott said.