Pac-12, Utah Utes inching closer to playing football this season



California, Oregon officials clear path for its teams to practice during coronavirus pandemic

SALT LAKE CITY — A few weeks ago, Utah wide receiver Britain Covey shared a joke that was circulating among the players.

“Hell will be straight football practice with no game to look forward to,” Covey said.

At the time, the Pac-12 had yet to announce a partnership for rapid COVID-19 testing, leaving the conference on a path to continue postponing the season until at least January.

My, how things are now evolving.

Statements released by Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott on Wednesday prove it. They preceded and followed comments by governors from California (Gavin Newsom) and Oregon (Kate Brown) that are expected to allow Oregon, Oregon State, Cal, Stanford, UCLA and USC to practice when and if conference officials opt to start the football season sooner than projected.

Statement from Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott on positive developments from governors of California and Oregon:

— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) September 16, 2020

“The Pac-12 welcomes today’s statements by Governor Newsom of California and Governor Brown of Oregon that state public health officials will allow for contact practice and return to competition, and that there are no state restrictions on our ability to play sports in light of our adherence to strict health and safety protocols and stringent testing requirements, including our recent, announced partnership with Quidel, which will enable daily rapid results testing,” Scott said. “We appreciate Governor Newsom’s and Governor Brown’s support, the former of which is consistent with the very productive conversation that he and I had earlier today.

“Our California and Oregon universities will now each individually and immediately, reach out to their relevant county public health officials to seek clarification on what is required to achieve the same clearance to resume contact practice and competition,” Scott continued. “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.”

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Utah officials did not have an immediate response to the news. Earlier in the day, the fluid nature of the Pac-12 football situation was evident.

“At this time, our universities in California and Oregon do not have approval from state or local public health officials to start contact practice,” Scott said at the time. “We are hopeful that our new daily testing capability can help satisfy public health official approvals in California and Oregon to begin contact practice and competition. We are equally closely monitoring the devastating fires and air quality in our region at this time.”

Scott closed his initial remarks by expressing eagerness for fall sports student-athletes to compete this season. He emphasized that it would happen “as soon as it can be done safely and in accordance with public health authority approvals.”

Oregon health officials granted permission for the two programs in that state to practice pending written proposals from the schools and the Pac-12. Details about the Pac-12’s soon-to-be implemented rapid COVID-19 testing program …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News


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