Pac-12 announces conference-only for fall 2020

Pac-12 Shield. Courtesy Pac-12 Group

Pac-12 Shield. Courtesy Pac-12 Group

The decision follows the Big Ten's move Thursday also to only play colleges within its conference to mitigate the possible spread of COVID-19, where the USA has 3.24 million active cases.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Pac-12 CEO Group announced on Friday that it would also eliminate non-conference games for several fall sports, including football.

"The health and safety of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports continues to be our number one priority", said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott.

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The Big Ten's decision wipes out 33 nonconference football games against non-Power Five programs - nine more against Power Five opponents, including two against Pac-12 foes - with payouts ranging in the six figures to more than $1 million to smaller schools.

The AAC, along with other conferences like the SEC and Big 12, have yet to announce a decision on whether they too will move to a conference-only schedule.

The decision by the Big Ten gives the conference some flexibility in scheduling around potential Covid-19 problems.

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"The University of Notre Dame has informed the Packers that the game scheduled for October 3 at Lambeau Field has been canceled due to the pandemic and the Big 10 Conference reducing their schedule to conference-only games".

Northern Arizona has a scheduled payout of $518,000 for its September 3 game at Arizona State, money that slated to be used for the football team's 2020 travel expenses. "We appreciate the economic impact it brings to our community and we look forward to hosting future college football games at Lambeau Field". BYU, another school that doesn't play in a conference, had three Pac-12 opponents on its schedule.

One ACC source said it is "very likely" the ACC is headed to a conference-only season but reiterated it is a week-to-week discussion that continues to evolve. According to CBS Sports, the Athletic Director's in the conference are scheduled to meet with Commissioner Sankey on Monday.

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"The University of Houston will continue to work with the American Athletic Conference and its members to focus on the scheduling guidelines for all fall sports in 2020". "We recognize the challenges ahead and know the well-being of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans must remain at the forefront of those decisions". For one thing, the NFL draft is now in the way of that, although one suspects the League would be willing to accommodate its primary feeder program.

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