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Football to play 10-game, conference-only schedule

Stanford will face UW on Sept. 26 in first game of the season

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The Pac-12 announced their approved conference-only, 10-game slate football schedule for 2020 on Friday. Stanford football will begin its season at the University of Washington on Sept. 26, followed by an away game at Arizona State on Oct. 3 and a home game against the University of Southern California the week after. 

After a bye week, Stanford will face Berkeley in the Big Game on Oct. 24 (Week 5). Stanford will be home again for a season finale against the University of Arizona during Week 11. Stanford football is currently not slated to compete against the University of Utah, according to the schedule provided by the Pac-12.

The championship game will be held in a “home-hosted model” at a university for this year only on Dec. 18 or 19 and will return to Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas in 2021.

The Pac-12 said that the delayed start will allow “additional time for student-athletes to properly and safely prepare for the season.” The conference also approved 20 hours of summer access mandatory activities beginning Aug. 3 and training camps beginning Aug. 17, though plans are subject to public health orders. All athletic competitions are mandated to follow a series of guidelines outlined by the Pac-12’s Medical Advisory Committee.

“The schedule and return to play plans provide for maximum flexibility and the best opportunity to play all fall sports in an environment that prioritizes safety,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. “At the same time, we will continue to evaluate the best available science, data and advice of public health officials as we make decisions and any required adjustments going forward.”

When the Pac-12 decided to cancel non-conference games earlier this month, Stanford had already begun welcoming players back to campus to begin training for their tentative first game against Arizona on Sept. 12. Four football student-athletes had tested positive for COVID-19 (out of the 190 tests administered) that week. 

The Big Ten had canceled non-conference games a day before the Pac-12. The Division 1 athletic conference, comprised of 14 member schools divided into two divisions, are waiting for further medical guidance and remain undecided on whether or not they will continue with a season this fall.

As of last week, Stanford Athletics had administered 706 tests on student-athletes; 505 of the tests were administered on football student-athletes. The remaining tests were conducted on “additional student-athletes who have chosen to return to participate in voluntary activities,” Stanford Athletics Communications Director Scott Swegan wrote in an email to The Daily.

All 11 of the student-athletes who tested positive are on the football team; of the 11, five have since recovered and been cleared to resume activities, Swegan said. The remaining six students continue to remain isolated, reporting health statuses and undergoing symptom checks daily.

Stanford Athletics will continue to “closely monitor and conduct regular testing” on further student-athletes who choose to return to campus, said Swegan. All practices are conducted in outdoor facilities, per Santa Clara County health guidelines.

The Pac-12 also approved conference-only plans for men’s and women’s soccer, women’s volleyball and men’s and women’s cross country, with games beginning no earlier than Sept. 26. Stanford football currently remains the only team to return to campus for practice in its entirety.

Contact Sophie Sullivan at sophiemsullivan ‘at’ gmail.com.

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Sophie Sullivan is a high school student writing as part of The Daily's Summer Journalism Workshop.