PAC-12 Announces COVID-19 “Game-Changer” COVID-19 Testing Initiative That Could Speed Return to Sports

By Kevin Harrish on September 3, 2020 at 6:26 pm
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Pac-12 announced a testing initiative it hopes will speed the return of sports.

The conference announced on Thursday that it has partnered with diagnostic test producer Quidel Corporation to implement up to daily testing for COVID-19 for all athletes in all contact sports.

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said the tests could deliver results in as little as 15 minutes, calling the development a "game-changer."

“This is a major step toward the safe resumption of Pac-12 sport competitions,” Scott said in a release. “The availability of a reliable test that can be administered daily, with almost immediate results, addresses one of the key concerns that was expressed by our medical advisory committee, as well as by student-athletes, coaches and others.”

Scott said the Pac-12 did not expect the conference would have access to such rapid testing until late November, which played a part in the conference's decision to postpone fall athletics, but despite the development, the Pac-12 still may be unable to return this fall due to local ordinances in the area which still prohibit organized team activities.

Scott said he is "hopeful" the conference will be able to return to action before the initial Jan. 1 postponement date but said the Pac-12 will need six weeks of prep time before beginning the football season.

Meanwhile, Scott said he is in continuous conversation with Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren regarding the postponement.

"A high priority for the Pac-12 would be to align our seasons," Scott said. "It would be awesome to have some of the traditional postseason opportunities the Pac-12 and Big 12 have enjoyed with each other."

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