(CBS SF) – Cal and Stanford will be hitting the gridiron in 2020 after all as Pac-12 conference officials on Thursday announced plans to proceed with a shortened football season slated to begin in early November.
The league announced Thursday that schools will play a seven-game conference-only season beginning Friday, Nov. 6 with the Pac-12 Championship Game scheduled for Friday, Dec. 18.
Memorial Stadium in Berkeley and Stanford Stadium will be empty, as the league said no fans would be allowed at games this season.
Last month, the Pac-12 joined the Big Ten Conference and Mountain West Conference in postponing football and all other fall sports amid ongoing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, the Big Ten changed course, approving a season slated to begin on October 24th.
The Pac-12 also reached an agreement earlier this month with a diagnostics testing company to conduct daily COVID-19 testing for conference athletes participating in close-contact sports.
“From the beginning of this crisis, our focus has been on following the science, data and counsel of our public health and infectious disease experts,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement. “Our agreement with Quidel to provide daily rapid-results testing has been a game-changer in enabling us to move forward with confidence that we can create a safe environment for our student-athletes while giving them the opportunity to pursue their dreams.”
Following the decision, Cal quarterback Chase Garbers said he was ecstatic about the league’s decision. “We have stayed prepared for this exact moment, and we are going to be fully prepared to accomplish our goals this season,” Garbers said in a tweet.
— Chase Garbers (@ChaseGarbers) September 25, 2020
Meanwhile, Stanford athletic director Bernard Muir said in a statement, “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.”
Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne said in a separate letter that current Santa Clara County guidance does not allow the school to begin contact practices or competition, but went on to say they were having “constructive discussions” with the county about the health and safety protocols needed to resume athletic activities.
A football schedule is slated to be released in the coming days, but officials said at a Zoom news conference on Thursday that teams would play all other teams in their division, along with one game in the other division.
The Pac-12 also announced men’s and women’s basketball, along with other winter sports seasons can proceed on November 25th, joining the rest of the NCAA.