Pac-12 postpones games for fall sports until 2021

Student-athletes will retain their scholarships; Pac-12 CEO group voted unanimously to postpone all athletic competitions due to COVID-19



The Pac-12 postponed all sports games for the rest of 2020 due to COVID-19.

CODY SCHOELER, Evergreen reporter

The Pac-12 announced today there will be no athletic competitions for the rest of 2020.

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said the Pac-12 CEO group voted unanimously to postpone all athletic competition through the rest of the calendar year. He said this does not rule out workouts and practices that can happen later if it is safe.

“This was an extremely difficult and painful decision that we know will have important impacts on our student-athletes, coaches, administrators and our fans,” Scott said.

Michael Schill, University of Oregon president, said the CEO group decided there is too much uncertainty to feel comfortable about beginning contact sports. He said they delayed making the decision until now in an attempt to preserve a fall season. 

“We will continue to assess and hopefully we’ll be playing in the spring,” he said.

Ray Anderson, Arizona State University athletic director, said the decision was made in the best interest of student-athletes.

“The health, safety and wellbeing of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports has from day one been our top priority and that was the top priority today,” Scott said. 

Doug Aukerman, Oregon State University senior associate athletic director for sports medicine, guided the Pac-12’s medical advisory committee that factored heavily into making the decision.

He said COVID-19 is still prevalent in many of the institutional communities in the conference and remains largely uncontrolled. A big factor in the decision to postpone competition was an increased concern regarding the health risks of the virus.

“There is some emerging data about some health risks that affect athletes and specifically the cardiac side effects of potential COVID infections that we don’t know enough about,” he said.

Anderson said they know the decision was going to be guided by science and medicine. He said it was the Pac-12’s duty to keep student-athletes safe.

A liability waiver allowing student-athletes to play was never an option, he said, because the conference’s responsibility is accountability to students and their families.

“We want to play in the worst way but not at the risk of the health and safety,” Anderson said.

Scott said all student-athletes will have their scholarships guaranteed and will continue to receive support from their universities. He said it is up to each school to decide exactly what that looks like for them.

He said the conference is strongly encouraging the NCAA to extend eligibility if student-athletes are not able to play. The NCAA extended the eligibility of spring sports student-athletes when their seasons were canceled in March.

“It’s important to give clarity to student-athletes,” Scott said. “This has been a time of great uncertainty and great anxiety for everyone, so we also feel a responsibility, based on all the trends that we’ve seen, to try to give some of that certainty and clarity.”