Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott called it a “game-changer”: an agreement with a manufacturer of rapid tests for COVID-19 and other conditions could allow the Pac-12 to resume sports sooner than January 1.
The Pac-12 announced yesterday that it had struck a deal with the Quidel Corporation for FDA-approved rapid tests for a range of medical conditions. The agreement should put a ‘Sofia 2’ testing machine on each Pac-12 campus by the end of September. That will allow schools to test athletes daily, with “almost immediate results,” according to the Pac-12 press release.
“This is a major step toward the safe resumption of Pac-12 sport competitions,” Scott said.
There’s no timeline yet for resuming sports. Last month, the Pac-12 canceled all sports competition through January of 2021 amid the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. At the time, the conference cited a need for more testing and quicker test results as a barrier to playing sports, and Scott suggested this week that the new rapid testing agreement helped address some of those concerns.
The other major concerns cited by the Pac-12 at the time: community prevalence of COVID-19 that makes travel between campuses a concern, and other health outcomes related to the coronavirus, including concerns about cardiac side effects to those who have had the virus.
ESPN reports that Scott has talked with Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren about the possibility of both conferences starting their football seasons at the same time. The Pac-12 and Big Ten were the two Power-5 conferences to postpone their fall football seasons, originally looking to play in the spring. But the Big Ten has also seen some rumblings for an earlier playing date: some reports have said the conference is looking at resuming play as early as October 10 (which would allow teams to enter the college football playoffs), though other options fall closer to Thanksgiving.