The thresher of the coronavirus continues to make hay of optimistic sports schedules. The Pac-12 Conference Friday followed the Big Ten Conference’s lead and made the football schedules conference-only, meaning that Washington’s September games against Sacramento State and Utah State joined Michigan on the discard pile.
Utah State was also on the schedule 0f Washington State, which booked Houston and Idaho in the first three games, now lost.
Meanwhile in Renton, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, speaking for himself and not the NFL, said Friday he was good with backing up the July 28 start of training camp, given how the virus goes unchecked in the U.S.
“Whatever we need to do to do this right, is what I hope we do,” Carroll told ESPN 710 radio Friday. “If we’ve got to slow down a little bit to get started, that would be OK. There (are) a lot of unsettled issues right now between the league and the players.”
The NFL and its players union haven’t come to agreement on terms of the start, disagreeing on the number of exhibition game as well as safety conditions. There’s also a dispute about how salaries may be paid if the season is shortened.
“Right now, if we needed to take a step back and keep drawing information, it seems like we learn so much every couple days,” Carroll said. “There is so much information coming in. Whatever we need to do to do this right, is what I hope we do.”
In the college game, there was less dithering. In a release Friday afternoon, the Pac-12 presidents and chancellors voted to go conference-only for football, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball.
The ACC said earlier Friday that it will start no sports before Sept. 1, and make a decision in late July on football. The remaining two conferences in the Power 5, the SEC and Big 12, are waiting a few more weeks, as well.
“The health and safety of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports continues to be our number one priority,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott in a release. “Our decisions have and will be guided by science and data, and based upon the trends and indicators over the past days, it has become clear that we need to provide ourselves with maximum flexibility to schedule, and to delay any movement to the next phase of return-to-play activities.”
Underscoring the health point, the Pac-12 Twitter account reported Friday evening that Scott tested positive for the virus, but was working remotely from home.
Statement from the Pac-12 Conference (July 10, 2020): pic.twitter.com/odEoOL20XO
— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) July 11, 2020
The conference is also delaying the start of mandatory athletic activities “until a series of health and safety indicators, which have recently trended in a negative direction, provided sufficient positive data to enable a move to a second phase of return-to-play activities.”
Washington’s activities are supposed to start Monday. Athletes who choose not to participate over covid-19 concerns will have their scholarships honored and lose no standing.
The conference said it has developed a series of potential fall models, and a final call will be announced no later than July 31. It could include a shuffle of all remaining nine-game schedules, which at the moment has the Huskies opening at Oregon Oct. 3.
As part of the home-and-home series with Michigan, the Huskies are booked to play in Ann Arbor in 2021. The Seattle game could be re-booked into a vacancy each team has in 2023.
The revenue losses at all schools are officially piling up. UW recently implemented a 2020-21 budget reduced by 15 percent. In addition to pay cuts for all coaches, all professional, classified and union staff members, about 156 employees, including UW’s associate athletics directors, have to take furloughs that will last between two and four weeks.