The Pac-12 CEO Group announced today that the Pac-12 play conference-only schedules in fall sports, which includes football, soccer and women’s volleyball. The conference also announced it will delay the start of mandatory team activities, which, for football, were set to begin on July 13, per NCAA rules.
The announcement was expected, following the same announcement delivered by the Big Ten on Thursday. With this, USC will not play a neutral-site game against Alabama on Sept. 5, nor will the Trojans host New Mexico the following week.
USC Athletic Director Mike Bohn said in a statement: “Confronted with an unprecedented global pandemic, in going to a conference-only schedule for fall sports in 2020 the Pac-12 Conference is acting responsibly on behalf of the health and safety of all of our student-athletes, coaches and staff, while trying to do everything possible so we can compete this year.”
Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement released by the conference: “The health and safety of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports continues to be our number one priority. Our decisions have and will be guided by science and data, and based upon the trends and indicators over the past days, it has become clear that we need to provide ourselves with maximum flexibility to schedule, and to delay any movement to the next phase of return-to-play activities.”
In erasing the first few games against non-conference opponents, there is a thought that the conference could add a 10th or 11th game, or provide extra bye weeks throughout the season in order to accommodate for any games that need to be postponed or rescheduled. USC is not scheduled to play Pac-12 members Oregon State or Washington State this season.
In the statement, the conference said it has developed several scheduling models for fall sports and details on the conference-only schedule will be announced no later than July 31.
“Regarding our football schedule, I have communicated today’s Pac-12 decision to the athletic directors at Alabama, New Mexico and Notre Dame, and there is no additional information to share at this time,” Bohn said. “We recognize how important both our historic series with Notre Dame and highly-anticipated contest with Alabama are to our student-athletes, fans and alumni.”
It will be interesting to monitor the Notre Dame game, as the Irish don’t belong to a conference and are scheduled to play both Stanford and USC in the Pac-12, as well as six games against ACC opponents. There have been reports that if the ACC goes to an all-conference schedule, Notre Dame could be included. At this point, it seems unlikely that the game will be scheduled.
With a conference-only schedule, USC would play:
Sept. 19 @ Stanford
Sept. 26 Arizona State
Oct. 2 (Friday) @ Utah
Oct. 10 Cal
Oct. 17 @ Arizona
Oct. 31 Colorado
Nov. 7 @ Oregon
Nov. 14 Washington
Nov. 21 @ UCLA