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Pac-12 CEO Group to meet Thursday to discuss start of football season

TEMPE, AZ - NOVEMBER 30: A wide view of Sun Devil Stadium before the college football game between the Arizona Wildcats and the Arizona State Sun Devils on November 30, 2019 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

There was no resolution in the meeting Friday, but the Pac-12 CEO Group said a decision on the 2020 football season should be coming soon.

The group will meet again Thursday “to make a decision regarding possible return to play prior to January 1,” it said in a statement on Friday evening.

The Pac-12 is the only Power Five conference that has not yet approved a start to the football season.

The Big 12 and ACC have already started play. SEC games are scheduled to begin next weekend. The Big Ten approved a football season last week and released its schedule Saturday, with the first games coming Oct. 24.

Pac-12 leaders who are pushing for a prompt start hope to have the first games be played on Oct. 31, according to the Mercury News.

If the plan is approved Thursday, that would give teams slightly over five weeks to prepare, right around the medically recommended six weeks of preparation for a proper ramp-up period and then four full-contact weeks of practice, according to the Mercury News.

“The health and safety of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports will continue to be our number one priority in all of our decision making,” the conference CEO group said in the statement.

A start date of Oct. 31 would give Pac-12 teams seven games, one fewer than Big Ten teams.

The Pac-12′s medical concerns about playing through the pandemic have been eased by the conference earlier this month securing rapid, daily COVID-19 testing for all its schools.

Mercury News reporter Jon Wilner told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Thursday that daily tests are expected to be available by the end of September.

Additionally, state and local authorities in California and Oregon signaled they would be willing to ease COVID-19-related restrictions that have made it nearly impossible for six Pac-12 teams to prepare for a football season.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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