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Pac-12 suspends football until at least spring

The Conference of Champions is the next Power Five league to give up on playing football this fall.

Oregon State Beavers RB Jermar Jefferson runs for a second half touchdown during 123rd Civil War between the Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers on November 30, 2019 at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon. Photo by Brian Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

UPDATE 4:30 p.m.: The Pac-12 has made it official and will suspend the season until at least January 1st.

The Pac-12 CEO Group voted unanimously to postpone all sport competitions through the end of the 2020 calendar year.

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. The report and updated guidelines of the Committee can be found here: Pac-12 COVID-19 Return to Play Considerations – Aug. 10, 2020 and a full list of Committee members can be found here: Pac-12 Medical Advisory Committee. The Conference also announced that when conditions improve, it would consider a return to competition for impacted sports after January 1, 2021.

Student-athletes impacted by the postponement will continue to have their scholarships guaranteed. Additionally, the Pac-12 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, they will continue to have university support, including academic advising and tutoring, among other support services.

“All of the Pac-12 presidents and chancellors understand the importance of this decision, and the disappointment it will create for our student-athletes, the coaches, support staff and all of our fans,” said Michael H. Schill, president of the University of Oregon. “Ultimately, our decision was guided by science and a deep commitment to the health and welfare of student-athletes. We certainly hope that the Pac-12 will be able to return to competition in the New Year.”

The Conference of Champions making this decision makes them the second Power Five league, and the fourth of 10 FBS conferences overall, to halt sports until 2021. With schools extending from Washington to Arizona, including in areas that are particular outbreaks of the coronavirus, it isn’t surprising that this change was made.

The Pac-12 is the latest Power Five conference to cancel their 2020 football season for now.

A press conference with league commissioner Larry Scott is due to begin at 4:00 p.m.