The Pac-12 and College Football

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Jayden Bradley, Writer

The Pac-12 Conference is joining the other four most powerful leagues in college sports in deciding to play football this fall, as they are defying the risks of the corona virus pandemic they are mandating that they salvage a season for fans and to shore up the financial health of its schools.

The Pac-12, which said last month that its teams would not compete until at least 2021, said Thursday that it would attempt to play as soon as Nov. 6. Which has been said to be for a player’s decision at the earliest. The decision came eight days after the Big Ten, which had also elected not to compete this semester, reversed its approach, and announced that games would begin in October also to be decided by the players themselves.

Independent medical experts and even some college sports officials have questioned, in public and in private, the propriety of playing during a pandemic that is ravaging the country at large and, in particular, campuses. But the leading conferences, which have imposed testing mandates and other tactics to try to prevent the virus from spreading within their locker rooms, have increasingly insisted that they can manage the pandemic’s risks and complications.

Larry Scott, the Pac-12 commissioner, said Thursday that the league’s recent contract for daily testing of athletes was “a game-changer in enabling us to move forward with confidence that we can create a safe environment for our student-athletes while allowing them to pursue their dreams.” And the league’s medical advisory panel said in a report released Thursday that it had agreed it was possible to play, in part, because of improvements in pandemic conditions.