Pac-12 athletic directors appear to be aiming at an Oct. 31 start for the conference’s football season, according to a report.
A Thursday story by Jon Wilner of the Mercury News said that Halloween is the Pac-12 ADs' preferred opening date, and they are now waiting for approval from conference presidents and chancellors, who will meet Friday.
According to The Associated Press, Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott says a vote by the CEO Group is not expected Friday.
“(Friday) is a chance to get everyone caught up on what’s been a very dynamic and rapidly changing series of events over the last 24 to 48 hours,” Scott said. “We’ll obviously have to decide soon, but I’m not necessarily expecting a decision (Friday).”
The Mountain West is also trying for a return to play in the fall, according to the AP report.
“The board has asked for a plan,” Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson said. That conference’s university presidents next meeting is next week.
The Pac-12 start date is also subject to the loosening of local health restrictions, most notably in California and Oregon.
Governors in both states have indicated that USC, UCLA, California, Stanford, Oregon and Oregon State can commence workouts, but each school is also subject to local county and city restrictions that must still be negotiated.
ESPN reported Thursday that the Los Angeles County Public Health Department will not place any restrictions beyond what is required by the state, which appears to free both USC and UCLA to begin team workouts.
But it appears some tweaking will still be necessary, as California guidelines do not currently allow for more than 12 players to practice together in a team setting. School officials say they are confident they can get that requirement amended.
Health department officials in Santa Clara County (Stanford) and the city of Berkeley (California), have not yet weighed in, the ESPN report said.
Once a start date is set, the Mercury News reported, a training camp schedule can be created for conference teams.
Pac-12 medical advisors have recommended six weeks of preparation, with a two-week conditioning period followed by four weeks of full-contact practice.
The Mercury News report said under this proposal, the daily virus testing regimen the Pac-12 has said it will implement would not be in place for the two-week ramp-up period, but would be available for the start of full-contact practices.
The Mercury News said that Nov. 7 has also been pitched as a potential start date, but either date would need to dovetail toward a Dec. 19 championship game.
How many games Pac-12 teams would play remains undetermined.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.