Similar to the Big 10, after originally deciding to call off their 2020 season in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, reports indicate that the Pac-12 has decided to reverse course and play football this fall. An official announcement is set to be made tonight at 8 p.m. EST, and the season — which will be a seven-game, in-conference-only schedule — is to begin on Friday, November 6.
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) September 24, 2020
The Pac-12’s decision to play football this year comes after the conference originally announced back in early August that all sports were being postponed until January. The announcement comes about a week after the Big 10, who will begin their season on Saturday, October 24, made a similar reversal.
While nothing is official, sources have told ESPN that the Pac-12 Championship Game will be played on Friday, December 18.
The Pac-12 has not received an indication it would be ineligible for the College Football Playoff due to its reduced schedule, sources said. Even if the Pac-12 doesn’t have a team worthy for inclusion in the four-team field, the eligibility component is important so it can be in position to collect the sizable payout. Last season, there was a $66 million base payout to each of the Power 5 conferences.
In August, the Pac-12 CEO group, which includes a president or chancellor from each university, voted unanimously to postpone the season. The explanation for the postponement included the need for daily rapid turnaround tests for COVID-19. At the time, there wasn’t a belief that would be possible during the fall. However, that changed less than a month later when the conference reached an agreement with a company to provide FDA-approved daily tests that are expected to be operational in early October. [via ESPN]
As for the other Power Five conferences — the Big 12, the SEC, and the ACC — they never canceled their seasons and have been playing since September began.