The Pac-12 announced Tuesday that all sports -- not just fall sports -- will be postponed at least until January 2021, meaning its basketball season will not start on time. It's the first example of a major conference delaying the start of basketball season as the college sports landscape continues to shift under the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In effect, that means the Pac-12's non-conference slate will be wiped out, though no outright decision has been made on non-conference play. The league's coaches are scheduled to have a call Wednesday to discuss those details. College basketball games are scheduled to start in early November, and teams generally play non-conference games until late December or early January.
"The health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports has been our number one priority since the start of this current crisis," Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said. "Our student-athletes, fans, staff and all those who love college sports would like to have seen the season played this calendar year as originally planned, and we know how disappointing this is."
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The Pac-12's announcement said the league "would consider" a return to play after Jan. 1, 2021. It's unclear if or when the Pac-12's decision will impact the basketball plans of other leagues. The Big Ten postponed fall sports on Tuesday with hopes of playing in the spring, but that announcement did not impact winter sports such as basketball.
However, the Pac-12 likely would not be interested in doing that.
"Unlike professional sports, college sports cannot operate in a bubble," Scott said. "Our athletic programs are a part of broader campuses in communities where in many cases the prevalence of COVID-19 is significant. We will continue to monitor the situation and when conditions change we will be ready to explore all options to play the impacted sports in the new calendar year."