The Pac-12 CEO Group met today to decide whether to play fall sports this season. The group of university presidents and chancellors from the Pac-12 schools voted in favor of bringing back fall sports, starting with football on Nov. 6. The basketball programs, men’s and women’s, will start their seasons on Nov. 25.
No fans will be allowed into venues until at least Jan. 1.
The Pac-12 statement reads: “No fans will be permitted at any sporting competition taking place on Pac-12 campuses. The decision to not allow fans at competitions will be revisited based upon health and safety considerations in Jan. 2021.”
Football will have a seven-game schedule. The official schedule will be announced at a later date. Teams will play five games against the other teams in their division, one against an opponent from the other division, and a final game the weekend of the conference championship game on Dec. 18 or 19. Teams that don’t make the title game would square off against the team in the the other division who finished at the same level in the standings, e.g. second place vs. second place, and so forth.
Here are statements of Arizona officials and coaches released by the school’s media relations department:
University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins: “Our student-athletes and their peers across the Pac-12 are among the most dedicated and disciplined members of the university community. We know they have the capacity to follow basic public health guidelines proven to minimize the spread of COVID-19, reinforced by our capacity to test quickly and affordably, and our strong partnerships with local health officials. I want to thank the Pac-12 – both its leadership and other members – for taking the time to ensure our universities had protection protocols in place before moving forward with this important decision, and I am confident this plan to bring back fall sports can be successful. This step will provide a much-needed morale boost for the Arizona community and our fans around the nation, and it will give our student population an experience that many of them look forward to when they choose to attend the University of Arizona. Bear Down and Mask Up!”
Thank you to the @pac12 – its leaders and members – for taking the time to ensure our universities had protection protocols in place before moving fwd w/ this important decision.
— Robert C. Robbins (@UArizonaPres) September 24, 2020
Vice President and Director of Athletics Dave Heeke: “Arizona Athletics fully supports the decision from the Pac-12 Conference and its CEO Group to move forward with a plan for the safe and healthy return of football and men’s and women’s basketball. President Robbins and University leadership have been unwavering in their commitment to the safety, health and well-being of all students, staff, faculty and members of the Wildcat Family. That commitment is evident in the Pac-12 Conference’s comprehensive testing program through a partnership with Quidel.
“I am proud of our athletics department and campus partners as we have navigated these unprecedented times together with compassion, adaptation and determination. Our comprehensive re-entry planning, in collaboration with the University of Arizona’s guiding principles, will continue to move us forward. We are excited for our student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans, yet we understand there remains a great deal of work to do. Arizona Athletics will continue to work alongside the NCAA, Pac-12 Conference, campus partners as well as state and local government authorities towards the safe and healthy return to competition for student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans.”
— Arizona Athletics (@AZATHLETICS) September 24, 2020
Arizona football head coach Kevin Sumlin: “Everyone in the Arizona Football Family is thrilled that our student-athletes will have an opportunity to compete this fall.
“As with every decision made by the University and the Pac-12, the decision of the CEO Group to move forward is centered on the health and safety of our students, coaches and staff and we are grateful for the broad commitment to testing resources from our CEOs.
“I am proud of the patience, resilience and commitment that our team has shown during an unprecedented time. We will continue to work hard preparing for the moment when we once again take the field, while staying committed to keeping each other and those around us safe and healthy. Bear Down!”
— Arizona Football (@ArizonaFBall) September 24, 2020
Arizona men’s basketball head coach Sean Miller: “Our coaching staff, players and each of their respective families are grateful for the opportunity to compete in a 2020-2021 college basketball season. Personally, I would like to thank the Pac-12 leadership, in particular our University President, Dr. Robbins, and our Director of Athletics, Dave Heeke, for their continued efforts and support throughout this process. We look forward to meeting the challenges ahead of us as we begin to prepare for the start of the season on Nov. 25.”
— Arizona Basketball (@APlayersProgram) September 24, 2020
Arizona women’s basketball head coach Adia Barnes: “I fully support the decision from the Pac-12 Conference and its CEO Group to move forward with a safe and healthy plan to play our season in 2020. I want to thank everyone at the Pac-12 as well as President Robbins, Dave Heeke and University leadership for their commitment to the safety and health of our student-athletes, coaches and staff in Arizona Athletics.
“We understand there remains work to be done to ensure a safe environment, and I feel confident in the plan to move forward with the season because of the incredible testing resources we have due to the Pac-12’s partnership with Quidel.
“I am thrilled that our student-athletes will be able to represent the University of Arizona and the city of Tucson on the court in 2020. We have big plans for the coming season, and I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish. Bear Down and Mask Up.”
Let’s gooooo we’re back!!!! https://t.co/g0YojNVkqH
— ADIA BARNES 🐻⬇️🌵🌞 (@AdiaBarnes) September 24, 2020
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.