BERKELEY (KPIX) — Having college football back by Thanksgiving has been a dream for many but there’s new optimism that it can become a reality.

The Pac-12 canceled all sporting events until next January but, with a rapid-testing option now available, the commissioner is saying we could see football return next month.

“My initial reaction was excitement because I want to get back in the field. I want to be with my teammates,” said Treyjohn Butler, a defensive back for the Stanford Cardinal.

Nikko Remigio, a wide receiver with the Cal football program added, “Any hint of playing a season is great news for everybody, especially for us players. We’re all itching to get out there.”

Many local college football athletes are celebrating the possibility of playing again on Saturdays. Pac-12 has partnered with San Diego-based Quidel Corp. to offer coronavirus test results in about 15 minutes. In an interview with CNBC, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott talked about how this could impact the football season.

Scott says, “That gives us the immediate results to test daily that through the contact of sports, we are not promoting the spread of the virus.”

Each school in the conference will get two testing devices. With this system, the athletes will be tested daily, including before every game. Players are fully aware of what’s at stake.

Butler says, “We understand these are unique times and that we can’t be selfish and we have to think about the bigger picture.”

But they are keeping their fingers crossed that this testing method will let them play ball.

“I think just the fact that we are able to get efficient, accurate testing at an ideal and efficient time frame is huge for all sports,” Remigio said.

While the testing has been used in facilities such nursing homes to reunite patients with family, this could be a way to open up more of the economy. Results will be studied from this experiment with football teams in hopes that it can pave the way for kids to return to school and employees to get back to work.

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