The Pac-12 Conference will allow voluntary workouts on campus for all sports beginning June 15, subject to the decision of each individual school and where allowed by local and state guidelines, the conference announced Tuesday.
The decision was made by the presidents and chancellors of the conference schools and followed the announcement last week by the NCAA that schools can reopen for voluntary activities beginning next Monday. The Pac-12's COVID-19 medical advisory committee created a series of guidelines and protocols for schools to follow once they decide to open for individual workouts.
“As states have either already opened or begin to open up access to parks, gyms and other training facilities, student-athletes should have the option at this time to be in, what for many, will be a much safer environment on campus, where they can have access to the best available health, well-being and training support,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said.
It’s unlikely all 12 schools will open their doors at the same time. States with schools in the conference are reopening at difference paces and that will affect when athletes can return to campus for workouts. Arizona has reopened many of its services and said professional sports can resume, while California, Washington and Oregon have been slower and more restrictive in allowing the resumption of small gatherings.
The biggest impact will be on the fall sports, most notably football. Several Pac-12 football coaches have said they would like six to eight weeks of preseason training and practice to be ready should the season begin as scheduled in late August and early September.
The guidelines created by the conference’s medical advisory committee cover returning to campus; returning to an athletic facility; facility specific considerations; return to exercise and response to infection or presumed infection. The conference said each school will develop its own health and safety plan consistent with local public health guidance.
“As educational institutions, our highest obligation is to the health and welfare of our students, faculty, and staff,” said Colorado chancellor Philip DiStefano, the chair of the Pac-12 CEO Group. “As we considered the pros and cons of taking steps that can pave a path to returning to play, those considerations were foremost, guided by the advice of our own medical experts along with public health officials.”