L.A. County gives hope to both USC, UCLA
One day after the governor of California said state guidelines were not preventing Pac-12 football programs from a safe return to the field, the Los Angeles County Public Health department said it was not imposing any more restrictions that the state required.
It comes as good news for the Southern California and UCLA football programs, who previously believed they were not allowed to conduct practice where there were contact drills.
“We have not placed other local restrictions or requirements so that means as long as the institution is implementing its athletic program in compliance with all the guidelines within the state document (which also includes a requirement to adhere to all NCAA directives), it is permitted in Los Angeles County,” the county health department said in a statement.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom punted to local health authorities when it came time to deciding if it was safe for the Pac-12 to ramp up football activity.
“I want to make this crystal clear,” Newsom said on Wednesday. “Nothing in the state guidelines denies the ability for the Pac-12 to resume. That’s been a misrepresentation of the facts.”
The conference did strike a recent deal to be able to conduct rapid COVID-19 testing, although that system is not expected to be in place until the end of September. Something resembling a typical football practice will not be conducted until then.
But the Pac-12 could be close to going the way of the Big Ten and decide to resume football games in the fall.
A meeting between Pac-12 presidents and chancellors set for Friday could provide some clarity to the situation. The Big Ten voted to start playing Oct. 24.
Speculation is now centering around the Pac-12 starting play the week of Halloween, but even that date is considered optimistic since it would give many teams barely a month of preparation time.
Time is at a premium to get in games, though, since the College Football Playoff is scheduled to announce its final four teams on Dec. 20.
–Field Level Media