UCLA could soon be playing football again in the Rose Bowl.
The Pac 12 is scheduled to vote on Thursday on moving forward with a shortened season.
According to media reports, the seven- or eight-game season will start either Oct. 31 or Nov. 7.
The return of college football would be a relief to Rose Bowl and city officials.
According to a report contained in the City Council’s Finance Committee agenda, the Rose Bowl Operating Co.’s debt service will be the city’s largest financial 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.
Last week, USC players asked Gov. Gavin Newsom to allow the return of college football in California, which would include USC and UCLA.
“The current reality is that there are too many restrictions imposed by state and local public health officials in California that prevent us from resuming practices and competition,” reads the letter from Trojan players. “We cannot practice in groups larger than 12, we cannot gather as a team, and we cannot utilize any of our indoor facilities. From the onset of this pandemic, the Pac-12 has rightfully and responsibly maintained that their decisions would be based on science, and now it appears that the science and technology have turned in our favor of playing.”
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, adding stadium officials have stayed in contact with UCLA and the Tournament of Roses.
Also last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom said there were no state guidelines prohibiting the Pac-12 from playing football and UCLA playing in the Rose Bowl.
“There’s nothing in the state guidelines that denies the Pac-12 from having conference games,” Newsom said. “There’s nothing in our guidelines the state put out that denies these games from occurring. We put out very, I thought, thoughtful guidelines and again, in partnership with the NCAA, about cohorting during workouts and practices. Now this manifests very differently depending on the sport. Basketball cohorting of up to 12 may be a little easier than football up to 12, but offensive teams, defensive teams are able to coordinate and practice and the like.”
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 have 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 Bowl Championship Series (BCS) National Championships 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.