The Pac-12 will play a seven-game conference football season beginning Nov. 6, the Pac-12 CEO Group said Thursday. The move clears the way for UCLA to play in the Rose Bowl, which could alleviate some of the stadium’s cash shortfall incurred since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Pac-12 Conference, which had earlier suspended all athletic competitions due to the pandemic, reversed course and decided to allow the sports seasons to begin.
The football season will begin Nov. 6, with all teams in the conference playing a seven-game schedule leading up to a Dec. 18 conference championship game. The schedule is expected to be released in the coming days.
The move came hours after the Public Health Director Ying Ying Goh told Pasadena Now that there is nothing in the city’s health order prohibiting UCLA from playing in the Rose Bowl.
“Currently only spectator-free sports with modifications are allowed by the state health officer order,” said Dr. Ying Ying Goh.
Collegiate athletics must follow the state and NCAA protocols, including frequent testing, players and coaches wearing masks on the sideline, informing opponents when a player tests positive within 48 hours of competition, small groups during workouts.
Goh said the city’s health department will still have a role to play if college football begins.
“In addition, if UCLA does resume football, we will be working with UCLA and LA County Public Health to review UCLA’s protocols, since the University is in LACDPH’s jurisdiction but the Rose Bowl is within Pasadena,” she said.
College football teams in California were allowed to return to practice this week.
Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom said there is nothing in state guidelines preventing colleges from playing football games.
“There’s nothing in our guidelines that prevent these games from occurring,” Newsom said during an afternoon news conference. last week. He added that schools “can resume football. There’s nothing in the guidelines saying the Pac-12 cannot move forward.”
According to a report in the City Council’s Finance Committee agenda, the Rose Bowl Operating Company’s debt service will be the city’s largest risk going forward.
That debt is expected to reach $12,166,180 by fiscal year 2022 assuming events resume. But even then, operating revenues are not likely to cover full debt service for FY 2022, and potentially beyond.
The high debt means that any money made from college football would help the city breathe a sigh of relief.
Last week, Rose Bowl General Manager Darryl Dunn said he thought the Pac 12 had its priorities right.
“I’m sure they would love to have their students out there playing sports. We’re ready to support them. We’d love nothing more than for the Rose Bowl to be utilized safely.”
Dunn said Rose Bowl officials have stayed in contact with UCLA and the Tournament of Roses.
The Rose Bowl Game is scheduled to be the semifinal game in this season, which means it may not be the traditional Pac 12 and Big 10 matchup.
There has been some questions regarding a second Rose Bowl matchup this spring Tournament of Roses CEO David Eads has cautioned that it’s too early to speculate about a second game.
The Rose Bowl hosted the BCS National Championship in 2010 and 2014.
“We have been a dual host in that past, during the BCS model, so it’s something we have done and something we have experience in,” Eads said earlier this month.