The Pac-12 is expected to cancel the 2020 football season as early as Tuesday, when the university presidents and chancellors convene to discuss the feasibility of playing amid the pandemic.
Multiple sources expect the conference to mirror the Big Ten’s decision.
“They move in lockstep,” a source said.
According to a report by radio personality Dan Patrick, the Big Ten presidents voted 12-2 on Sunday night to cancel the season, with the conference making a formal announcement on Tuesday.
Patrick reported that the Pac-12 was expected to do the same.
But hours later, multiple media outlets reported that no vote had taken place in the Big Ten — an indication of the highly fluid news cycle that has overtaken the sport in the past 48 hours.
Multiple Hotline sources said the Pac-12 presidents had not made a decision as of Monday morning and were not expected to vote until Tuesday at the earliest.
The Pac-12 presidents align more closely with the Big Ten than any other conference, in part because of the long association in the Rose Bowl.
If the Big Ten delays its announcement for a few days or weeks, the Pac-12 might follow — for a standoff has developed at the highest levels of college football power.
On one side: The Big Ten, which has been more hesitant to attempt to play than any other conference, and the Pac-12.
On the other side: The SEC and the ACC, which are not ready to call it quits.
The Big 12 is believed to be considering both options.
Regardless of the exact timing, an official decision by the Pac-12 to cancel is viewed as a foregone conclusion at this point.
University presidents and administrators are staring at the mountainous issues (logistical and moral) that would come with attempting to play an amateur, contact sport against the backdrop of a highly transmissible disease that carries worrisome long-term health implications.
Specifically, there is growing concern over the possible cardiovascular impact of Covid-19, following two German studies that revealed “heart involvement in 78 patients” — out of 100 — “and active cardiac inflammation in 60.”
However, a cancellation would carry massive economic consequences, as each athletic department generates in excess of $50 million from football — a substantial percentage of the annual total and the fiscal foundation for the conference’s highly-successful Olympic sports.
The athletes themselves have added a layer of intrigue to the decision:
Last week, a dozen Pac-12 players issued a list of demands — safety protocols, economic reform and racial justice were the focus — that the conference needed to meet prior to training camp (Aug. 17), or the players would opt out of the season.
But Sunday night, some of those same players expressed support for a national push, led by Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, to play this fall as long as a more narrow, manageable set of conditions were met.
Ultimately, however, the presidents are expected to base their decision on the specific challenges posed by Covid-19.