Pac-12 votes to have football, basketball seasons

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There will be football in the Pac-12.

That's the word from conference officials late Thursday, announcing its football, basketball and winter sports seasons will resume amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"The football season may now commence for those teams that have the necessary state and local health approvals on November 6, men’s and women’s basketball on November 25 consistent with the NCAA’s official start date for these sports, and other winter sports consistent with the NCAA season dates for those sports,” according to a press release.

"We've got a different problem out here than a lot of the conferences because we have so many teams in so many big cities," said Joe Starkey, Voice of the Cal Bears. "You need okay from state leadership in Oregon, California, Washington, all those kind of issues. It took them a while to do that."

The conference decided to change its position, taking "into account material changes to testing capabilities, the prevalence of COVID-19 and cardiac issues, along with updated state and local health official guidance."

Starkey told KCBS Radio he was a little surprised by the announcement.

"I really admire the Pac-12 for taking so long to so it," he said. "I think it's really important not to get caught in the issue of the dollar bill transcending everything else."

Practice will start October 9 for players.

"The health and safety of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports remains our guiding light and number one priority," said Pac-12 CEO Group Chair and University of Oregon President Michael Schill. "Our CEO Group has taken a measured and thoughtful approach to today’s decision, including extensive consultation with stakeholders on the evolving information and data related to health and safety."

Officials had originally opted not to play football last month.

"I want to thank President Tessier-Lavigne and Provost Drell for their extremely thoughtful leadership throughout this process," Stanford University Director of Athletics Bernard Muir said in a news release. "We are eager for all of our student-athletes to have the opportunity to play this season, assuming it can be done safely and with the appropriate public health authority approvals."

The Pac-12's revised football schedule is seven games, including a six-game conference season. There will be three home games and three road games during conference play.

The Pac-12 Championship Game will be played December 18.