(CBS4) – The Colorado Buffaloes may be hitting the gridiron in 2020 after all as Pac-12 conference officials announced plans to proceed with a shortened football season. But a coronavirus outbreak on the University of Colorado campus may put a wrench in the works.
The Pac-12 announced that schools will play a seven-game conference-only season beginning Nov. 6 with the Pac-12 Championship Game scheduled for Dec. 18, but there is still work to be done for schools in the Pac-12 to get the approval of local officials in Colorado. Due to a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Boulder, officials Thursday halted gatherings for college-aged residents for two weeks. That includes athletic events.
“We’ll continue to work with our public health officials to comply with the public health order and be a part of the community solution,” Colorado athletic director Rick George said. “The one thing I’ve learned in this pandemic, is don’t get too high and don’t get too low.”
If games are played at Folsom Field in Boulder, the seats will be empty because the league said no fans will be allowed at the games.
The Pac-12 said it will be conducting daily COVID-19 testing for players.
The loss of ticket revenue and decreased number of games will cost Pac-12 schools tens of millions of dollars, but it could have been even worse with no football at all.
The Pac-12 trying to squeeze seven games into seven weeks is an idea borrowed from the Big Ten.
The turning point for the return of sports in the Pac-12 came Sept. 3 when it entered an agreement with diagnostic testing company Quidel that will give each school the capacity to conduct daily antigen tests on their athletes.
Still, it took three weeks for the conference to reverse course on fall football.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)