Though you may not know it from following the news, there are two Power 5 conferences not playing football right now, not one. The Big Ten may have swallowed every available molecule of oxygen in the room, but the Pac-12 remains just as shut down as peer league in the Midwest.
In fact, one could argue, even more so. The Pac-12 is presently the only collegiate conference with a secured supply of daily antigen tests coming down the pipeline, and is on track to possibly be the last Power 5 league to hit the field in 2020.
There are three reasons for this.
1. The Pac-12 showed its work in releasing a 12-page document alongside its Aug. 11 vote to postpone the football season. Agree or disagree, the league established a set of hurdles that must be cleared in order to play.
2. Speaking of hurdles, the states of California and Oregon presently do not allow their teams — totaling half the conference — to gather in groups large enough to practice, let alone play. Now, this seems insane given that the Rams, Chargers and 49ers — not to mention MLB’s Dodgers, Angels, Padres, Giants and A’s — are all gathering daily for practices and games in the same state as Cal, UCLA, USC and Stanford, but the rules are the rules.
3. The culture is just different out West than it is in the Midwest or the South. There simply hasn’t been the daily outcry of dissent and despair that there is in Big Ten country, or would be in SEC, ACC or Big 12 land. There hasn’t been any outcry at all, in fact.
That’s starting to change, though.
A letter written on behalf of the USC football players — and published by the team’s leaders — pleaded directly to California governor Gavin Newsom to let the state’s college football players get back to action.
“Governor Newsom,” the group writes, “our request of you is that you work with us — urgently and purposefully — to find a path forward for us to resume our competitions later this fall so that we can have the same opportunity as other athletes around the country to play for a national championship.”
“We will always celebrate and support the voice of our players,” Clay Helton wrote on Twitter, giving the letter (written on USC letterhead) his stamp of approval. “Proud of these young men.” The letter was also retweeted by the official @USC_FB account.
— Clay Helton (@USCCoachHelton) September 15, 2020
There’s no guarantee the Trojans’ letter will get them and their Pac-12 rivals back on the field any faster than they otherwise would have. But not sending a letter would guarantee that nothing happens on this front, and the Trojans are tired of waiting.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.