The Pac-12 recently announced a partnership with Quidel Corporation – a company that created rapid, affordable COVID-19 testing – possibly providing a pathway for fall sports to start sooner than anticipated out west.
Quidel Corporation received FDA authorization earlier this year with the goal of providing daily rapid coronavirus testing to colleges, primarily for student-athletes in close-contact sports.
Results take only 15 minutes. Every Pac-12 athletics department agreed to purchase tests, and they are expected to be on campus no later than the end of September.
Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said:
One existing hurdle is that the conference's six schools in California and Oregon – Cal, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA and USC – are banned from practicing by local government law. However, California allowed the NFL to conduct preseason camps in its state by waiver, and Oregon is currently in discussions with government officials.
A spokesman for Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said:
"The universities are working through the process with the Oregon Health Authority about how they can safely hold practices while complying with updated health and safety guidelines. Those conversations are ongoing, with the goal of keeping players, coaches, and communities safe."
According to Larry Scott, teams will need ample time before returning to competitive play.
The Pac-12 is hoping to play it's football schedule in conjunction with the Big Ten. The two conferences are currently in talks to play alongside each other, ending the postseason with a Rose Bowl matchup of the conferences’ champions.
“A high priority for the Pac-12 would be to align our seasons. It would be awesome to have some of the traditional postseason opportunities the Pac-12 and Big Ten have enjoyed with each other."
The Pac-12 has a meeting next week to discuss the new developments concerning a possible earlier start date.
On Aug. 11 both the Big Ten and the Pac-12, announced they would be postponing all fall sports seasons with hopes of playing in the spring, including football. The decision was made amid uncertainties surrounding testing capacity, community outbreaks, local government guidelines and long-term effects linked to the pandemic.