The Pac-12 football fall 2020 season has been canceled. Numerous news outlets reported the news Tuesday morning, and the Pac-12 published its official announcement later in the day. The Pac-12 tentatively plans to move the season to the spring instead to avoid COVID-19 concerns.
“The decision was made after consultation with athletics directors and with the Pac-12 COVID-19 Medical Advisory Committee who expressed concern with moving forward with contact practice,” wrote the Pac-12 in its statement.
The Pac-12’s decision comes after the Big Ten canceled its fall football season earlier today despite many coaches being outspoken in advocating for playing this season. One of the main concerns with playing, however, was the development of a heart condition called myocarditis, which can result from battling COVID-19. It can lead to inflammation of the heart muscle, and cause abnormal heartbeat. More than 15 Big Ten Players now have the condition, and it was a leading factor in shutting down the Big Ten’s season, and presumably the Pac-12’s.
Less than two weeks ago the Pac-12 announced an intended 10-game, conference-only fall schedule, which seemed like a step towards play. The original plan was for Stanford to kick off the season at Washington on Sep. 26, but the conference has now decided that even with a delay, the season was too much of a risk.
Stanford football players are currently being housed in an off-campus hotel, where many have been living since voluntary practices began last month. Those players will now presumably return home, although Stanford Athletics is yet to publish a statement on its plans.
Student-athletes impacted by the postponement will continue to have their scholarships guaranteed, according to the Pac-12. Additionally, the conference “strongly encourages that the NCAA grant students who opt out of competition this academic year an additional year of eligibility.” As part of their guaranteed scholarships, Stanford athletes will continue to have university support, including academic advising and tutoring, among other support services.
In the week leading up to the decision, players have repeatedly expressed their opinions on the status of the upcoming season. Most notably, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the presumed No. 1 overall 2021 NFL Draft pick, tweeted #WeWantToPlay and a corresponding statement — which was subsequently retweeted by Donald Trump. Countless other players across the Power Five conferences followed suited.
Last week, Pac-12 players penned an open letter in The Players’ Tribune, in which they threatened to boycott Pac-12 training camp and games should proper safety precautions not be put in place, among other things.
This article has been updated to include information from the Pac-12’s official statement.
Contact Cybele Zhang at cybelez ‘at’ stanford.edu and Sam Levine at samplevine ‘at’ gmail.com.