The “game-changer” move of getting a private testing lab to provide point-of-care tests to all Pac-12 schools was just one step in getting that conference back on the football field, but not the step.
“The availability of a reliable test that can be administered daily, with almost immediate results, addresses one of the key concerns that was expressed by our medical advisory committee, as well as by student-athletes, coaches and others,” commissioner Larry Scott said upon striking a deal with Quidel labs on Sept. 3.
However, those tests are not expected to come online until the end of this month, and on Tuesday ESPN’s Heather Dinich reported that the conference does not expect to get back on the field until mid-November at the earliest.
The news comes as the Big Ten is preparing for the possible resumption of its football season, possibly as soon as Oct. 17.
After striking the deal with Quidel, Scott had said the Pac-12 would like to work in concert with the Big Ten, hopefully building both league’s seasons toward a spring Rose Bowl.
But if the Big Ten comes back online soon, the Pac-12 could be the lone Power 5 conference playing a winter season — despite being the first (and, thus far, only) conference to find a guaranteed source of daily tests.
The reason for the hold up? Real life.
California and Oregon schools — half the conference — still don’t have clearance by their respective health departments to resume practices, let alone stage games.
This, despite the fact that California’s three NFL teams all played games yesterday, and the state’s five MLB teams are in their third month of competition during the pandemic. The Pac-12’s testing plan is also more thorough than the NFL’s as well.
Getting back on the field could come down to a matter as simple as obtaining approval from the Powers That Be, but those powers are currently occupied with managing the pandemic and widespread wildfires across the two states.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.