Text to Pac-12 players encourages possible opt-out

Tanya Simon
August 2, 2020

Preseason practice in the Pac-12 is scheduled to start August 17, but now Southern California, UCLA and California are operating under local restrictions that would prevent their football teams from practicing.

On July 17, former Arizona State quarterback Rudy Carpenter, now a private QB coach and broadcaster, posted a series of tweets referencing a movement amongst Pac-12 football players threatening to boycott if demands for COVID-19 testing and protocols, revenue sharing and long-term health insurance were not met. "We support our student-athletes using their voice, and have regular communications with our student-athletes at many different levels on a range of topics".

"From the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, we have been committed to prioritizing the health and safety of our student-athletes and all those connected to our athletic programs", Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said.

The new 10-game schedule is as follows: vs. Utah (Sept. 26), vs. Oregon (Oct. 3), at UCLA (Oct. 10), vs. California (Oct. 17), Bye (Oct. 24), at Stanford (Oct. 30), at USC (Nov. 7), vs. Arizona State (Nov. 14), at Oregon State (Nov. 21), vs. Washington (Nov. 27), at Colorado (Dec. 5).

When the conference released its schedule shortly before 1 p.m. PT on Friday afternoon, one of the main headlines was the fact USC and UCLA would open the season with their crosstown rivalry game on September 26 at the Rose Bowl. We are cautiously optimistic sitting here today.

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Such restrictions would include the nearly complete shutdown of Melbourne's public transport network, starting from Wednesday. Melbourne's streets have been quiet this week as cases continued to spiral.

As coronavirus cases continue to surge in California and Arizona, University of Arizona quarterback Kevin Doyle became the first Pac-12 player to publicly opt out of the 2020 season Saturday. They will close the regular season at USC on December 5, marking the first time the season won't end against Washington State (Nov. 27) since 2008. "I think we are all trying to take a step at a time". What's happening in our campuses?

"A lot of that has to do with mask-wearing, social distancing". What happens when thousands of students come back to our campus? On Friday, we finally learned what USC's modified 2020 slate would look like without marquee matchups against Alabama and Notre Dame and with two additional games against league foes.

Scott said it's possible some teams may play less than 10 games this season if all postponements can't be made up on open dates.

The Pac-12 Football Championship Game, presented by 76®, will be held in a home-hosted model for 2020, with the Pac-12 and partners Allegiant Stadium and the Raiders, Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority (LVCVA) and MGM Resorts International agreeing to commence hosting of the Championship Game at Allegiant Stadium in 2021 for its two-year run in Las Vegas in order to ensure a successful launch of the inaugural event.

The Pac-12 approved a plan that will allow teams in the conference to start 20 hours per week of team activities, including weight training, meetings and noncontact practices known as walk-throughs.

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