“Another incomprehensible consequence of an unprecedented time,” Athletic Director Mike Bohn wrote in a statement. “We wanted to play, we wanted to coach, and we still hope for the opportunity to do both when conditions improve.” Bohn wrote that despite “gargantuan” efforts, there was too much uncertainty to progress with the fall season and he thanked President Carol Folt for “advocating for the health and well-being of our student-athletes.” He lauded USC’s coaches and staff for implementing and communicating policies and protocols to ensure health and safety, also praising student-athletes for their cooperation over the last several months. “I am very proud of how our football team has conducted themselves and for all the hard work they have put in this year in preparation for a season,” head coach Clay Helton wrote in a statement. “I am confident that we will come out of this a stronger, more resilient football team and look forward to getting the opportunity to compete and showcase all the hard work that has been put in.” “We are strongly encouraging the NCAA to make decisions as quickly as possible to extend eligibility for student-athletes,” Scott said in a press conference with Pac-12 officials Tuesday. “We saw what happened in the spring, and we’re going to put our shoulder completely behind supporting our student-athletes if they don’t get to play a season to have another year back.” The release said the Pac-12 COVID-19 Medical Advisory Committee was concerned about carrying out contact practices and that the prevalence of the coronavirus in member campus communities posed an additional threat. The Pac-12 has officially postponed all sports competitions through the end of 2020 due to concerns over the coronavirus, the conference announced in a press release Tuesday. It will attempt to carry out spring seasons for all the impacted sports should the outlook on the pandemic improve in the United States. “I am in awe of our student-athletes’ discipline and dedication to adhering to all of our guidelines in a profound commitment to themselves, their teammates, and their shared desire to compete,” Bohn’s statement read. “We are indebted to our campus partners, operations staff, and medical team for their leadership and partnership.” “The health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports has been our number one priority since the start of this current crisis,” Scott said in a release. “Our student-athletes, fans, staff and all those who love college sports would like to have seen the season played this calendar year as originally planned, and we know how disappointing this is.” David Ramirez contributed to this report. Scott added in the webinar that the vote by the Pac-12 CEO Group to postpone the season was unanimous. Scott said in the webinar that teams will be allowed to continue workouts of up to 20 hours per week even without games this fall. The USC football team had been gearing up for the start of training camp, scheduled for Aug. 17, prior to the postponement. Dr. Doug Aukerman, senior associate athletic director of sports medicine at Oregon State, said during the press conference that increasing evidence of cardiac complications as a result of the virus was another factor in postponing the season. The release also cited the implausibility of creating a bubble — as used by the NBA, NHL and NWSL — in order to play a fall college season. Affected student-athletes will have their scholarships honored, the release read, and Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott urged the NCAA to grant an extra year of eligibility to those who opt out of competition in the 2020-21 academic year.
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