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Pac-12 Notes

August 9th

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Big Ten on fall football: “It doesn’t look good” (Pac-12 Presidents to meet on Tuesday)

From ESPN … Commissioners of the Power 5 conferences held an emergency meeting on Sunday, as there is growing concern among college athletics officials that the upcoming football season and other fall sports can’t be played because of the coronavirus pandemic, sources told ESPN.

Several sources have indicated to ESPN that Big Ten presidents, following a meeting on Saturday, are ready to pull the plug on its fall sports season, and they wanted to gauge if commissioners and university presidents and chancellors from the other Power 5 conferences — the ACC, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC — will fall in line with them.

Sources told ESPN that a vast majority of Big Ten presidents have indicated that they would vote to postpone football season, hopefully to the spring. A Big Ten official confirmed to ESPN that no official vote took place during Saturday’s meeting, but the presidents are set to meet again Sunday night.

“It doesn’t look good,” one Power 5 athletic director said.

Notre Dame has close ties to the Power 5, deciding to join the ACC in football this year instead of remaining independent due to the challenges of the pandemic. Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick verbalized one of the central issues with altering the season.

“My view is if we change course, we better be able to articulate the reason for doing so to our student-athletes,” he told ESPN.

The Mid-American Conference on Saturday became the first FBS league to postpone the fall sports season, including football.

Presidents and chancellors of the Pac-12 universities are scheduled to meet on Tuesday.

Continue reading story here

Pac-12 willing to talk health and safety with players – but not money

From YardBarker.com … Pac-12 football players have banded together in an attempt to demand increased health and safety protocols and also pressure the conference into providing economic benefits, but the latter does not sound like an option.

A dozen Pac-12 players and conference officials held a two-hour Zoom call on Thursday night during which they discussed a number of issues. Players raised concerns about moving into training camp later this month and were told by officials that they would have an update from the Pac-12 medical advisory commission next week, according to Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times. Officials also assured players that eligibility extensions would be addressed for players who opt out, or in the event that a full season is not played.

What Pac-12 officials are not willing to discuss, however, is money. Players have demanded 50 percent of conference revenues, but Bolch reports that they were told schools would not support any such proposal. Sharing revenue with players and essentially making athletes employees would affect other athletes in non-revenue sports as well as have Title IX implications.

We already know that players were unhappy with how they felt they were treated by Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott during the call. It’s probably safe to assume the financial demands played a role in that.

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August 8th

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Power-Five AD: Fall cancellation “inevitable”

From CBS Sports … A cancellation of the 2020 college football season this fall is unavoidable after the MAC canceled its season earlier in the day, two prominent Power Five athletic directors told CBS Sports on Saturday. Both reacted to the MAC becoming the first FBS conference to cancel its fall season while also referencing a lack of progress fighting the coronavirus, according to their medical professionals.

“It’s not fair what we’re doing to our coaches and student-athletes,” one long-time Power Five AD said. “The sooner we can come to a finality, the better.”

“I think it’s inevitable [the season will not be played in the fall],” said another veteran Power Five AD.

Neither AD wished to be identified due to the sensitivity of the situation.

The MAC news early Saturday led to speculation that dominoes would begin to fall nationally among the nine other FBS conferences. The FBS is looking more and more like an outlier in forging to ahead to play. UConn, an independent, canceled its season on Wednesday. Several FCS conferences have done the same, to the point that its subdivision may no longer hold a national championship.

More than 30 Power Five players, including multiple potential first-round draft picks, have opted out of playing in 2020 citing health concerns.

“I’m of the opinion it’s when, not if [the 2020 season is canceled],” the first AD said. “[The MAC announcement] adds more momentum to the finish line. I think everyone’s medical group is now all telling them the same thing. We all keep having the same conversations.”

Rumors continued to swirl Saturday that the Pac-12 and Big Ten would indeed be the next FBS conferences to cancel their respective 2020 seasons.

Continue reading story here

Which will be the first Power Five conference to pull the plug on the fall?

From YahooSports.com … he 2020 college football season is teetering on the brink, and throughout the sport the question isn’t so much if it will be canceled as opposed to who will do the canceling.

The prime contenders: the Big Ten and the Pac-12.

As of now the season is officially still on, at least mostly.

The Mid-American Conference pulled the plug on its season Saturday morning, affecting 12 schools. The University of Connecticut, an independent, had already done so individually on Wednesday.

What comes next will determine a lot. No offense to those 13 schools, but college football can go on without them. The sport is usually played by 130 schools in 43 states, coming in all shapes, sizes and finances. Almost no one ever thought 2020 would happen with all of them.

However, if there is no Ohio State or USC — let alone Clemson and Alabama — then forget it.

This Jenga tower of a sport is just waiting for the wrong block to be pulled from underneath it. All eyes are on two of the nation’s Power Five conferences — one in the Midwest, the other in the West — doing the tugging.

“I think if one league shuts down, then the others will follow like dominoes,” an SEC athletic director theorized this week.

It’s an ominous thought. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the balancing scales of optimism and pessimism have rocked gently back and forth. Throughout it all there was always hope, even if it was only loosely based on reality, that one or two or three leagues might be able to just go it alone.

Continue reading story here

Report: Big Ten commissioner favors spring schedule

From The Detroit Free Press … Big Ten presidents are expected to meet Saturday afternoon to discuss the future of the conference’s fall sports seasons, two people with direct knowledge of the situation told the Free Press.

And it’s possible a spring football season could be on the table.

The sources were briefed about the call but were not authorized to speak publicly about it. The Big Ten confirmed the presidents had a regularly scheduled meeting Saturday and said no vote was planned. But according to the sources, the college football season is expected to be among the topics of conversation.

The presidents meeting comes hours after the Mid-American Conference — which includes Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan and Western Michigan — became the first from the FBS to cancel its fall college football season in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The MAC will instead pursue a spring football season, commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said Saturday in a conference call.

Neither the sources nor Steinbrecher detailed how a spring season would commence. There are significant pitfalls, including playing two seasons in one calendar year and there’s no guarantee a COVID-19 vaccine will be readily available by then.

Continue reading story here

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#WeAreUnited to Larry Scott: “You are not taking this matter seriously”

From ESPN … Email letters exchanged Friday between leaders from the Pac-12 #WeAreUnited unity group and conference commissioner Larry Scott show a stark divide with how the parties felt Thursday’s initial meeting went in regards to the student group’s concerns about the conference’s return-to-play policies related to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We were all left disappointed and deeply concerned that you are not taking this matter seriously,” a letter to Scott sent late Friday, signed by 18 student-athletes, said.

One of the primary points of contention was related to what constitutes “regular testing” for COVID-19. While the player group asked for daily testing and a consistent conference-wide testing policy, Scott informed them neither was possible, according to the players’ letter, which said, “you [Scott] claimed necessary tests were ‘unavailable’ and that it would be ‘impossible’ to mandate testing and best practice COVID precautions conference wide.”

In Scott’s letter to the player group, which was sent Friday afternoon, before he received the players’ letter, he said questions about testing protocols would be addressed with the conference’s medical advisory committee and he would provide answers “in the very near future.” A second meeting has not been scheduled, but is expected to take place next week.

A conference source took issue with the players’ characterization that Scott and the Pac-12 are not taking the player-health issues raised by the players seriously, calling it “patently false,” citing the conference’s medical advisory committee that includes leading public health and infectious disease specialists, which formed guidelines that apply to every school in the conference. The source said all Pac-12 schools have committed to following the Pac-12 medical advisory’s guidelines, along with those implemented by the NCAA and local public health requirements.

Continue reading story here

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August 7th

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CSU pauses football operations amid allegations of racism and verbal abuse 

From The Coloradoan … Colorado State football team activities have been suspended indefinitely due to allegations of racism and verbal abuse in the program.

The Coloradoan reached out to CSU leadership on Friday seeking interviews regarding an investigation by the paper looking into allegations by multiple former CSU players and athletics staff who say they witnessed racial insensitivity and emotional and verbal abuse among coaches and athletic administrators.

The story has not yet been published.

Later on Friday, CSU released a statement from athletic director Joe Parker.

“Today, we learned of some extremely troubling allegations of racism and verbal abuse from CSU’s athletic administration generally and in the football program specifically.

“I have consulted with President (Joyce) McConnell about these new allegations, which obviously deeply concern her as well.  Effective immediately, and for the best interests of our student-athletes, I am pausing all football-related activities indefinitely.  This includes practices, workouts, and team meetings.

“I have also asked President McConnell to expand the independent investigation she announced on Tuesday to include a comprehensive review of our athletic department and football program specifically related to allegations of racism and verbal abuse. While we have been working hard towards playing football this fall, the holistic well-being of our student-athletes is our unequivocal top priority. We must and will address these allegations before we focus on playing football.”

… Continue reading story here

CSU hires law firm which handled Iowa racial bias probe

From ESPN … Colorado State University, following allegations that student-athletes have been threatened and intimidated to ignore COVID-19 protocols, has hired the same firm that Iowa consulted to handle its recent racial bias probe.

Husch Blackwell, a law firm based in Kansas City, Missouri, started its CSU investigation on Thursday after multiple players, coaches and sports medicine staffers told both ESPN and the Coloradoan that players had been instructed to hide their symptoms by a position coach as coronavirus cases increased within the football team.

Staffers also expressed concerns that officials at the school had failed to provide an accurate picture of the growing outbreak to the state’s Department of Public Health and Environment.

CSU president Joyce McConnell said she has not limited the scope of Husch Blackwell’s investigation. Her letter to the athletic department announcing the hiring of the firm promised zero tolerance for any “attempts to retaliate against, pressure, or intimidate individuals who participate in the investigation.”

“I think we’ve done a good job of setting the stage for athletes to feel comfortable as they participate in this investigation,” McConnell told ESPN.

Iowa hired Husch Blackwell following a series of allegations tied to the football program’s treatment of Black players, some involving former Iowa strength coach Chris Doyle, that emerged last month.

The firm produced a 28-page report that detailed systemic problems within the Iowa program’s culture.

At Colorado State, multiple sources told ESPN that football coach Steve Addazio had vowed to return to practice “early” after the commencement of a 14-day quarantine that came a day after 27 players missed football practice last week due to COVID-19 symptoms or potential exposure.

On Monday, the entire team was re-tested. The university is awaiting the results.

Outside football, sources said they didn’t feel current CSU athletes were “safe” due to constantly changing protocols and a lack of communication and consistency in handling quarantine procedures for athletes who have either tested positive or were potentially exposed.

McConnell told ESPN she anticipates Husch Blackwell will complete its investigation “pretty quickly.”

Pac-12 officials have “healthy, productive exchange” with #WeAreUnited representatives

From the San Jose Mercury News … Pac-12 officials met with representatives of the #WeAreUnited players movement Thursday night for two hours in what was described as a “healthy, productive exchange” that focused on health and safety issues, according to a source familiar with the conversation.

The players, who have threatened to boycott the season unless a series of demands are met, raised the issue of sharing 50 percent of the football revenue — the most controversial of their demands.

Representatives of the conference responded that such an arrangement was “not something the schools were supportive of” because it would create a “path to the student athletes becoming employees.”

Health and safety measures were the focus of the discussion — in particular, how the football teams would move forward safely into the next phase of the return-to-play process.

Training camp is scheduled to start for Pac-12 teams as early as Aug. 17, local health restrictions permitting.

The players’ concern about proper safety protocols being in place for the next phase coincides with the conference’s medical advisory committee “evaluating plans” to ensure a safe environment, the source said.

The call featured four conference and campus officials: commissioner Larry Scott, assistant commissioner Chris Merino and athletic directors Mark Harlan (Utah) and Ray Anderson (Arizona State).

There were 12 players on the call.

Continue reading story here

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August 6th 

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Cal financial woes critical: “Perhaps the pandemic will finally give Berkeley a way to get out of having a football team”

Note … The article lists the Top Ten public schools in terms of athletic department debt. Cal, with $438 million in debt, is well ahead of the No. 2 school, Illinois ($323 million). Also on the list: No. 7 Washington ($244 million) and No. 8 Colorado State ($238 million). CSU is the only G-5 team to make the list … 

From Sportico.com … The financial situation for the Cal Golden Bears is about to go from bad to worse.

One of the country’s largest and most successful athletic programs, Cal is also remarkable in another way. No public school’s athletic department has more debt than the Bears, the result of what was once the most expensive capital project in NCAA history.

The program is struggling in the same ways many others are too. College football is hanging by a thread, which means ticket sales and possibly TV money will drop significantly. Cal’s also losing partners—Under Armour is trying to back out of its $86 million contract—and facing a new wave of athlete activism, born from football players on its own campus, with a long list of demands.

It’s a financial minefield. In the four years before COVID-19 disrupted college sports this spring, Cal’s athletic department ran a combined $75.8 million deficit. With tensions already high on campus about resources given to athletics, the Golden Bears may be the poster child for how the pandemic could change the financing of big-time college sports.

“The options they have are really limited,” said John Cummins, Cal’s former associate chancellor.  “Let’s just assume that the impact, even if they play football, is tens of millions of dollars. Then the question is, how much of that do they want to assume in debt, and how much of that will require cuts of some kind?”

… The entire university, including athletics, has projected a $340 million budget gap due to COVID-19. The school has imposed a hiring and a salary freeze and last month laid out a mitigation plan—which includes short-term borrowing, more federal funding and personnel changes—that would reduce that gap to $65 million.

“Universities were struggling with resource allocation before this virus hit, and with remote learning and enrollment drops, resources will dwindle even more,” said Brad Bates, a former D-I athletic director who was part of the consulting group that did Cal’s 2017 review. “There’s going to be a more intensified fight for how those resources are prioritized and allocated across campus.”

The sports-specific decisions rest with leaders like Christ and Knowlton, who must correct the financial missteps of the people who held their jobs before them. Both were unavailable to comment for this story, though they’ve said in the past that cutting sports is a last resort.

No matter what happens, there’s likely to be a new round of opposition from faculty on campus. That last resort may soon become reality, but maybe not in the way that some would expect.

“Perhaps the pandemic will finally give Berkeley a way to get out of having a football team,” said one member of the 2016 task force. “We will see.”

Read full story here

John Canzano: Credible player demands submarined by threat to sit out

From The Oregonian … It takes no brains to come up with a proposal that is one sided.

But real brains to work out a deal that works for all sides.

I keep thinking about that when it comes to the demands of a growing group of Pac-12 players who are threatening a player boycott this football season. The player demands include enhanced insurance benefits, scholarship security, transfer flexibility, guarantees that non-revenue producing sports won’t be dropped and an investment in support of minority students on the conference campuses.

Most of that, in some form, makes sense. Also, I’m impressed that for the first time in some time athletes are attempting to wield some of the power they’ve always possessed. But the credible demands are submarined by the group’s threat to sit out the rapidly approaching season, and also, a request for a 50-50 revenue share of profits.

Those things, fall flat.

Still, I thought Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott did the right thing in addressing the group with a now-leaked letter that validated their concerns. Scott should follow up with a video conference call, and perhaps what could be born of this is a new football player-advisory board built with one member representative from each of the 12 conference football teams.

That group could serve as a powerful tool for the players, and help keep the universities of the conference in touch with the concerns of athletes. Also, it would give the conference a chance to tell players that a threat to sit out the upcoming season looks ridiculous. So does a 50-50 revenue share that would cause the elimination of a line of non-revenue producing sports if the conference were dumb enough to agree to it.

“We are eager to hear more about your concerns and very happy to discuss,” Scott wrote to the players. “I will come back to you in the coming days following discussion with our members and student-athlete leaders to schedule a call for this week to discuss the matters that you have raised.”

Continue reading story here

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August 5th

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Larry Scott proposes “landmark” meeting with #WeAreUnited group

From Sports Illustrated … In an email sent Wednesday night to the #WeAreUnited group, commissioner Larry Scott proposed a Zoom call for 8 p.m. PT Thursday to discuss the athletes’ list of demands, which were revealed over the weekend in a public unveiling. A copy of the email was obtained by Sports Illustrated. The proposed call would include Scott, ASU athletic director Ray Anderson, Utah athletic director Mark Harlan and Pac-12 assistant commissioner Chris Merino, the league’s liaison to student-athlete groups.

The two sides, the Pac-12 and #WeAreUnited, have traded emails over the last several days, starting with the original list of demands sent to Scott on Sunday. The email was signed by 11 players, each from a different school in the conference. Colorado was the only school without a signatory. The group’s demands are as reasonable as asking the league to form a permanent civic engagement task force for social injustice issues and as aggressive as asking Scott to take a pay cut and demanding the league distribute 50% of each sport’s conference revenue among athletes.

Many of the players’ virus-related demands were met Wednesday when the NCAA announced a series of health-and-safety requirements for schools and conferences to implement during the 2020 season. In his Wednesday letter, Scott noted that the association’s announcement should have satisfied some of the group’s requests. “I wanted to share with you in advance of our call some background materials—including an announcement made by the NCAA Board of Governors earlier today—that I believe are directly responsive to some of the topics and concerns that you have raised, and that will help inform our initial conversation,” Scott wrote.

… If it does happen, the call between Pac-12 leaders and #WeAreUnited would be somewhat of a landmark event in college football history. Conference and school athletic administrators would be entering into potential negotiations with a group that is at least acting as a players’ union, something forbidden in the NCAA. However, the size and scope of the group is still unclear.

Continue reading story here

Big Ten plans playing games starting September 5th

Related … “Big Ten players follow Pac-12’s lead in pushing for safety ahead of 2020 college football season” … from CBS Sports (Note … The demands from the Big Ten players are almost all COVID related; no demands for 50% revenue split; no threatened boycott) …

From CBS Sports … In a surprise early-morning announcement, the Big Ten released its complete 10-game, conference-only college football schedule for the 2020 season on Wednesday. The schedule format will be comprised of each team’s previously scheduled nine-game conference slate along with one additional game against a cross-division opponent.

The Big Ten will begin playing games earlier than all other Power Five conferences, starting in the traditional Week 1. It has games on Thursday and Friday of that week before beginning league-wide on Saturday, Sept. 5. The ACC is beginning play the following week, the Big 12 has yet to decide, and the SEC and Pac-12 are kicking off their seasons on Sept. 26.

The 10 Big Ten games will be played over 12 weeks with each team having two off weeks. Week 13 on Nov. 28 is off league-wide as an additional date to make up games if necessary. This flexibility in the schedule allows for games to be moved and the potential for pushing back the start of the season entirely. While this announcement puts dates and games in writing, nothing is set in stone.

“One of the reasons we went to 10 games was to provide our schools with flexibility, to play 10 games over a 12-week period with a couple of open weeks that we can move games into,” Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren told The Athletic. “There has been a great deal of collaboration with this. To be able to work on the schedule with athletic directors, coaches and our conference staff — anytime you can work together in a collective manner, the better chance you have for success.”

Continue reading story here

Report: Pac-12 planning mammoth loan program if football season is canceled

From the San Jose Mercury News … The Pac-12 is planning a mammoth loan program that would provide an escape hatch for cash-strapped athletic departments in the event the football season is canceled because of coronavirus, according to internal documents and conference sources.

Football accounts for the majority of each department’s revenue, generating in excess of $50 million dollars in ticket sales and media rights alone.

The loan program would be large enough to cover that loss for each school, if needed:

According to a series of emails obtained by the Hotline through public records requests, the loan would provide a maximum of $83 million for each university at a rate of 3.75 percent over 10 years.

Each athletic department could decide whether it wanted to participate in the program.

If all 12 opted for the maximum amount, the total would be $996 million.

“The conference is trying to be nimble and give schools some options,’’ a source said.

However, multiple sources indicated that not every school would make use of the loan, and some would seek substantially less than the maximum allowable. If the Pac-12 plays a full football season, the plan could be pushed aside entirely.

The idea is popular with university presidents because the loan would allow schools to bridge the coronavirus crisis without having the implement massive budget cuts that could include widespread layoffs and possibly the elimination of Olympic sports teams, which do not generate a profit.

Continue reading story here

Like USC/UCLA, doubt cast upon Arizona State/Arizona game being played September 26th

From ArizonaSports.com … Arizona State University president Michael Crow said Monday that he believes the Sun Devils’ planned 2020 football opener against the rival Arizona Wildcats will not take place as scheduled on Sept. 26.

The Pac-12 released its 10-game, conference-only schedules for football on Friday and notably moved two rivalry games traditionally played at the close of the regular season to the beginning of the year.

That was planned by the conference for a reason. The Arizona schools and the USC-UCLA rivalry, which could be postponed due to coronavirus cases in their respective locales, could be flexed to a free Dec. 12 weekend.

Crow said Monday while joining the The Mike Broomhead Show on KTAR News 92.3 FM that he expects the rivalry football game will move to the end of the year.

“If we can’t hold a game on that (Sept. 26) weekend, then it gets moved to the end of the season. Looking at things the way they look right now, that’s more probable than actually playing on that day,” he said.

Continue reading story here

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August 4th

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CSU football players and AD staff say coaches covering up COVID threat: “There is a cover up going on at CSU”

From the Coloradoan … CSU football players and university athletic department staff say coaches have told players not to report COVID-19 symptoms, threatened players with reduced playing time if they quarantine and claim CSU is altering contact tracing reports to keep players practicing.

And they say those actions by the athletic administration is putting their health at risk in return for monetary gain the school would receive if fall sports are played.

Football players said they would like to play this season but don’t believe there should be a season given the spike in positive cases on the team in the past two weeks and the threat of more once Colorado State’s full student body comes to campus later this month.

“I believe there is a cover-up going on at CSU,” said a current football player who wished to remain anonymous for fear of retribution. “But they could only cover it up so long and now that we have so many cases across athletics, they can’t cover it up anymore. It’s not about the health and safety of the players but about just trying to make money off the players.”

Continue reading story here

Washington State issues statement explaining removal of player 

Related … WSU head coach Nick Rolovich issues statement; “regrets” words used … From CBS Sports

… Basically, the player wanted to have his cake and eat it, too. He wanted to “opt out” of playing, but still participate in team workouts and team activities. Washington State, meanwhile, is taking the position that if you are worried about your health, you shouldn’t be in the locker room, period … 

From ESPN … Washington State athletic director Pat Chun said wide receiver Kassidy Woods‘ removal from team activities stemmed from Woods deciding to opt out of the season for health concerns, rather than his involvement with the Pac-12 player unity movement.

Chun told ESPN that Woods sent him a text message on Saturday stating his decision to opt out because of health concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic. Woods also mentioned his involvement in the Pac-12 unity movement and asked to speak with Chun.

“His health and safety is our No. 1 priority,” Chun said Monday night. “For an athletic director, everything else after that is a moot point. I’m not talking you out of it. At that point, it goes 100%, ‘We support and we honor your decision, we respect your decision.'”

Woods told ESPN earlier Monday that he thought he could opt out and still take part in team workouts and other activities, but not travel and participate in games during the season. The redshirt sophomore was surprised when Washington State coach Nick Rolovich told him he could no longer be involved with team activities.

Washington State says two football players have opted out of the season for health concerns. They will remain on scholarship this year.

“If we were opting out for practice, we never would have come back to campus at all,” Woods said. “They’re trying to misconstrue our words and the whole point of us opting out and why we’re opting out. I was just saying I’m not going to play in any of the games. [Rolovich] told me that I couldn’t be around the team at all, he cleaned out my locker, and then he took me off the team group chat. His actions showed that I was cut from the team.

“That’s what the protocol is when you cut somebody from the team.”

Woods added that Washington State had never clearly stated its opt-out policy, saying, “We’re the only school in the Pac-12 that’s doing that.”

Chun on Monday clarified the school’s stance on medical opt-outs, and explained why those who choose to opt out would not be allowed to participate in team activities.

“If you have health and safety concerns, de-densification is one of the main tenets of moving forward in COVID, so taking one body out does make a difference, and the liability of having someone in the weight room that has expressed health and safety concerns is as real as it gets for an athletic department,” Chun said. “… For this student-athlete’s health and safety, we needed to remove him from the locker room, from all team-related activities, because he has health and safety concerns relative to COVID-19. We cannot put him in congregant settings.”

Continue reading story here

Big 12 going with nine conference games and one non-conference game

From CBS Sports … With the 2020 college football season inching closer towards its start, the Big 12 is the latest Power Five conference to announce its scheduling plans. The smallest of the major conferences will have its teams play 10-game seasons, including nine conference games and one nonconference contest.

The Big 12 — a 10-team league — regularly plays a nine-game, round-robin conference schedule. The start of conference play will be “solidified in the coming weeks, with an anticipated start sometime between mid-to-late September,” according to a release.

It is expected the Big 12 will announce the start date to the conference season (either Sept. 19 or Sept. 26) early this week, Big 12 sources told CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd. Big 12 athletic directors have pushed back Tuesday’s weekly conference call to 3 p.m. CT to account for the NCAA Board of Governors decision on whether to cancel fall championships.

Nonconference games are expected to be played prior to the start of league games as Big 12 home contests. Four Big 12 teams are currently slated to play nonconference games on Aug. 29, which would be Week 0.

It’s “highly doubtful” defending conference champion Oklahoma will play its scheduled Aug. 29 game against Missouri State, league sources tell Dodd. At least one Big 12 school will announce an entirely new nonconference opponent — not one of three currently on its schedule — for its 10th game, and at least one other Big 12 school is waiting for the starting date of the Big 12 conference schedule before deciding on its nonconference opponent.

Continue reading story here

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August 3rd

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Wilner on #WeAreUnited demands: some no-brainers; some “outlandish”

From Jon Wilner at the San Jose Mercury News … The Pac-12 unity movement that burst into the public realm over the weekend has many components and generated a wide range of reaction.

For those unaware, the players’ demands feature specific requests in the areas of health and safety, racial justice and economic equality.

(Go here for the full list.)

According to a press release issued by a dozen players:

“We will not play until there is real change that is acceptable to us.”

Let’s attempt to cut through the haze …

*** Defining the roles.

While assessing the size and scope of the unity movement, a critical distinction exists between:

1) Players who express solidarity with the movement through social media,

2) Players who opt out of the 2020 season because underlying health issues make them high risk for Covid-19, and

3) Players who are willing to opt out if their demands are not met by the schools and conference in the next few weeks.

We know there are hundreds in the first category — that was clear from the support on social media channels over the week.

We assume there will be a dozen or two in the second category. (One already has: Washington State receiver Kassidy Woods.)

We are deeply skeptical of the size of the third category.

Retweeting the unity symbol does not a voluntary opt-out of your life’s passion make.

In fact, two prominent players took to social media Sunday to indicate they would not opt out:

Washington’s all-conference cornerback, Elijah Molden, said: “While I agree with most of the demands, there are a few that I cannot get on board with.”

And UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson wrote: “I understand and support every guy on the Pac-12 petition & #WeAreUnited but Opting-out not a option for me …”

Additionally, it’s worth noting that three schools did not have a representative on the movement’s official ‘media contacts’ list: USC, Utah and Colorado.

Continue reading story here

Did WSU coach tell #WeAreUnited player to “clean out his locker”? (Yes, but not in that context)

… The argument can be made that Washington State head coach Nick Rolovich did not handle the situation well, but, if you read the transcript of the conversation (below), it seems pretty clear that the “clear out your locker” statement was more to do with Woods opting out due to COVID concerns, and wanting to have the space available for players who wanted to play, than it was about Rolovich condemning Woods for his political stand … 

From the Dallas Morning News … Washington State WR Kassidy Woods called head coach Nick Rolovich on Saturday to inform him that Woods would be opting out of the season. The two then discussed the PAC-12 unity movement, which was published in The Players’ Tribune on Sunday.

Washington State spokesperson Bill Stephens told The Dallas Morning News that he hasn’t been cut and never was cut from the roster.

“He is a member of our football roster,” Stephens said.

The drama started on Sunday afternoon when Woods’ mother, Jerline Woods, tweeted that he’d been cut from the roster.

Kassidy Woods spoke with The News on Sunday evening and suggested his time at Washington State was possibly over.

“The damage has already been done,” Woods said. “Shoot, that’s all I’ve got to say about it. If had shown me they wanted me to stay, they wouldn’t have done all this. So, I’m not the problem here. I didn’t create the problem. They did.”

Woods said he is unsure if he will still have a scholarship beyond this year. Woods, co-founder of the Black Student Athlete Association at the school, also said he spoke with Cougars athletic director Pat Chun. Woods said Chun supported Rolovich’s decision.

Woods shared an audio of his conversation with Rolovich with The Dallas Morning News. Here’s a full transcript.

FULL TRANSCRIPT:

Woods: What’s up, coach?

Rolovich: Kass, how you doing?

Woods: I’m doing good.

Rolovich: Sup?

Woods: I just wanted to inform you that I would be opting out of playing in the season. I just wanted to give you a heads up, so you won’t be caught blindsided by it. But the reasoning behind it is just, you know with concerns with my health. Because — I’m pretty sure you probably don’t know, but first and foremost, I have Sickle Cell. So and like with all this COVID stuff, it affects the respiratory system. And really, we really, really don’t know much about the virus within itself. So I just don’t — I feel like there’s not enough in place for me to be safe, you know, and for sure that I would be able to play. So that’s the main reason why I’m opting out.

Rolovich: I got nothing wrong with that. That’s why I told you guys, this shit, this part, I don’t care. Now are you gonna be joining this PAC-12 football unity movement? Is that what it is?

Woods: Yessir, mhm.

Rolovich: OK so that’s going to be, that’s gonna be an issue if you align with them as far as future stuff, cause the COVID stuff is one thing. But, um, joining this group is gonna put you on a, on a — that’s obviously, you know, you get to keep your scholarship this year, but it — it’s gonna be different. You know, if you, if you say, ‘I’m opting out ‘cause of COVID and health and safety,’ I’m good. But this group is gonna change, uh, I guess, how things go in the future for everybody, at least at our school. Um, so just think about that is, if it’s about getting paid and not (inaudible) about racial justice and that stuff. Then it’s probably, it’s there’s two sides, there’s two sides here. I’m good with the Sickle Cell and the COVID, and but this, this group is gonna be at a different level as far as how we’re kind of going to move forward in the future. Does that make sense?

Woods: Yes sir.

Rolovich: OK so it’s not, you know, there’s one way we’ll handle it if it’s COVID-related. And then there’s one way we’re going to handle it if it’s joining this group. So I appreciate you letting me know. And I was going to address this tomorrow night at the Zoom.

Woods: OK I got you.

Rolovich: So, um, no I appreciate you telling me and I’ve got nothing wrong with that.

Woods: Yes sir.

Rolovich: Are you gonna go home?

Woods: No I’m not gonna go home. I was just, you know, informing you that I would be opting out for the season. I mean, I’m still gonna do workouts and stuff. It’s just, I don’t feel comfortable traveling, and doing all that.

Rolovich: Yeah, but I don’t think you’re gonna be with the team this year. You know what I’m saying?

Woods: OK.

Rolovich: I can’t — I don’t, I don’t think that’s a good look for everybody. This guy’s still working out with us, but he’s not playing. So, um, it sends too much of a mixed message moving forward, so.

Woods: If I may ask, how does it send a mixed message?

Rolovich: Uh, because, you’re really playing this year for the team. You know what I mean? And you have your reasons and I’m fine with that, but I don’t think you being included in everything we’re doing is gonna be, uhh, how we want to move forward. We kind of want to be one team in that. So [inaudible]. … It’ll be — we’ll have to alleviate, you’ll probably have to get your stuff out of the locker room, you know what I mean? Stuff like that. So, and you know, it adds to another — the less people we can have around the better chance we will have this season, I guess is what I’m saying. And if you’re not gonna play, then we’re gonna use the resources on the guys that are gonna play this year.

Continue reading story here

—–

August 2nd 

… Foe Pause … 

Will latest issues lead to Power Five splitting off from NCAA?

From CBS Sports … The showdown is now out in the open. What was hinted at in the past is formally a conflict. Actually, it’s worse. The NCAA and the Power Five are official adversaries.

That much was obvious Saturday night when CBS Sports confirmed a story Sports Illustrated first reported about the willingness of the Power Five to stage its own championships in fall sports (other than football) if the NCAA Board of Governors cancels them this week.

That board, comprised mostly of administrators and campus CEOs, is the NCAA’s top governing body. The NCAA does not sponsor championship for the 130 FBS teams. That is controlled by the 10 FBS conferences, ESPN and the College Football Playoff.

By cancelling those other fall championships, the board knows it would be painting the FBS into a corner. The optics would not be good if the championships in eight sports were canceled amid the COVID-19 pandemic yet big-time college football played on.

But by cancelling those championships, the board might set in motion an eventual breakaway from the NCAA by the Power Five — the 65 total schools from the nation’s largest most powerful conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC) plus Notre Dame.

Simply put, those power conferences have thought for a while they could do it better than the NCAA. They’ve increasingly lost faith in the association.

Continue reading story here

#WeAreUnited publishes lists of demands; players to “opt out” of playing until demands are met

… List of demands from the #WeAreUnited website are posted below … 

… It is being reported that over 100 players have signed on to this “opt out” demand, though none are from CU … 

From the Daily Camera … A group of Pac-12 football players say they will not practice or play until their concerns about playing during the COVID-19 pandemic and other racial and economic issues in college sports are addressed.

The players posted a statement Sunday on The Players’ Tribune website and social media with the hashtag #WeAreUnited and sent out a press release. The release listed the names of 12 Pac-12 players, including Oregon star safety Jevon Holland, and provided a statement from each one.

It says hundreds of players throughout the Pac-12 are concerned about the risks of COVID-19 and that the conference and NCAA lack transparency, uniformity and adequate enforcement infrastructure.

The players’ list of demands addresses healthy and safety protections related to COVID-19; protection for all college sports programs from being eliminated by budget cuts; racial injustice in college sports; and economic rights and compensation for college athletes, including 50% of each sport’s total conference revenue distributed evenly among athletes in their respective sport.

“This is important to me because I want to see the young men that are being exploited by the PAC12 & NCAA have the right to earn money for their families,” Holland said in a statement. “I want the safety of my peers lives to be placed higher than the sport they play. If we are treated like employees then we should be compensated as such.”

The other players listed were:

Jaydon Grant of Oregon State; Treyjohn Butler of Stanford; Jake Curhan, Joshua Drayden and Valentino Daltoso of California; Elisha Guidry of UCLA; Malik Hausman of Arizona; Dallas Hobbs of Washington State; Ty Jones and Joe Tryon of Washington and Cody Shear of Arizona State.

Pac-12 Football Unity Demands

To Protect and Benefit Both Scholarship and Walk-On Athletes

 

I. Health & Safety Protections

COVID-19 Protections

  1. Allow option not to play during the pandemic without losing athletics eligibility or spot on our team’s roster.
  2. Prohibit/void COVID-19 agreements that waive liability.

Mandatory Safety Standards, Including COVID-19 Measures

  1. Player-approved health and safety standards enforced by a third party selected by players to address COVID-19, as well as serious injury, abuse and death.

II. Protect All Sports

Preserve All Existing Sports by Eliminating Excessive Expenditures

  1. Larry Scott, administrators, and coaches to voluntarily and drastically reduce excessive pay.
  2. End performance/academic bonuses.
  3. End lavish facility expenditures and use some endowment funds to preserve all sports.*

*As an example, Stanford University should reinstate all sports discontinued by tapping into their $27.7 billion endowment.

III. End Racial Injustice in College Sports and Society

  1. Form a permanent civic-engagement task force made up of our leaders, experts of our choice, and university and conference administrators to address outstanding issues such as racial injustice in college sports and in society.
  2. In partnership with the Pac-12, 2% of conference revenue would be directed by players to support financial aid for low-income Black students, community initiatives, and development programs for college athletes on each campus.
  3. Form annual Pac-12 Black College Athlete Summit with guaranteed representation of at least three athletes of our choice from every school.

IV. Economic Freedom and Equity

Guaranteed Medical Expense Coverage

  1. Medical insurance selected by players for sports-related medical conditions, including COVID- 19 illness, to cover six years after college athletics eligibility ends.

Name, Image, and Likeness Rights & Representation

  1. The freedom to secure representation, receive basic necessities from any third party, and earn money for use of our name, image, and likeness rights.

Fair Market Pay, Rights, & Freedoms

  1. Distribute 50% of each sport’s total conference revenue evenly among athletes in their respective sports.
  2. Six-year athletic scholarships to foster undergraduate and graduate degree completion.
  3. Elimination of all policies and practices restricting or deterring our freedom of speech, our ability to fully participate in charitable work, and our freedom to participate in campus activities outside of mandatory athletics participation.
  4. Ability of players of all sports to transfer one time without punishment, and additionally in cases of abuse or serious negligence.
  5. Ability to complete eligibility after participating in a pro draft if player goes undrafted and foregoes professional participation within seven days of the draft.
  6. Due process rights

—–

August 1st

Pac-12 players threaten boycott if demands are not met

… Players from “Cal, Oregon, Stanford and UCLA and other schools are involved” … CU not specifically mentioned …

From ESPN … A group of Pac-12 football players from multiple schools is threatening to opt out of both preseason camps and games until its negotiations with the league regarding concerns about racial injustice, their safety during the coronavirus pandemic and other demands are completed.

A text message obtained by ESPN says the group’s goal is to “obtain a written contract with the Pac- 12 that legally ensures we are offered the following protections and benefits.”

The group’s list of demands, according to the text message, includes safe play amid the pandemic, fighting racial injustice, securing economic rights and fair compensation, protecting all sports and obtaining long-term health insurance.

People familiar with the group’s mission told ESPN that the central issue it wants to address with the league and its schools is racial injustice.

The players plan to make a public “statement of unity” and a list of their demands as early as Sunday through traditional and social media.

The Pac-12 said in a statement Saturday that it had yet to hear from the group.

“Neither the Conference nor our university athletics departments have been contacted by this group regarding these topics,” a Pac-12 statement said. “We support our student-athletes using their voice and have regular communications with our student-athletes at many different levels on a range of topics. As we have clearly stated with respect to our fall competition plans, we are, and always will be, directed by medical experts, with the health, safety and well being of our student athletes, coaches and staff always the first priority. We have made it clear that any student athlete who chooses not to return to competition for health or safety reasons will have their scholarship protected.”

Ramogi Huma, the founder and president of the National College Players Association, is assisting the players in organizing the potential boycott, sources told ESPN. Huma, a former linebacker at UCLA, has been an advocate of college athletes’ rights.

A staff member at a Pac-12 football program told ESPN that the movement is “real” and involves potentially hundreds of players.

A UCLA player contacted by ESPN said Bruins team leaders planned to meet and discuss the potential boycott Saturday.

A person familiar with the Pac-12 campaign said players from Cal, Oregon, Stanford and UCLA and other schools are involved. The person said at least a few of the league’s head coaches were aware of the potential boycott and have independently gauged their teams’ involvement, which has varied from campus to campus.

Continue reading story here

—-

USC AD Mike Bohn: Don’t Expect USC/UCLA Opener to be Played

From USC Football … USC AD Mike Bohn and UCLA AD Martin Jarmond tweeted out something of a clarification Friday after the Pac-12 released its entire schedule that had the Trojans and Bruins opening Week 1 Sept. 26 at the Rose Bowl.

To sum it up in a sentence: Neither program is confident, considering the realities in Los Angeles and California, that they can be ready to play Game 1 Sept. 26.

So do not order an Uber for Pasadena yet. More chance this game is played the Oct. 31 bye week or Dec. 12 than Sept. 26.

Here’s the tweet:

“We are pleased with today’s Pac-12 announcement of revised scheduling details for 2020 fall sports. We understand the great interest in the 90th edition of our historic football rivalry game, currently scheduled for Sept. 26 at the Rose Bowl. Though we are progressing toward the start of our respective seasons, at this time we do not have the necessary county and state clearances to begin competitions. Developing a scheduling model for the fall sports season that provides optimal flexibility was an important next step in the process. In particular, our football schedules create the opportunity for us to shift our season-opening contest to open dates later in the season (Oct. 31 and Dec. 12), if necessary. UCLA and USC are in absolute alignment, and we remain in regular communication with state, local, and university officials. We will continue to follow their guidance with the utmost regard for the health and safety of our student-athletes.”

—–

July 31st

… Foe Pause … 

Pac-12 schedule released …

From the Pac-12

Colorado opens with the top division champions from 2019, Oregon and Utah, adding Oregon State …

Old schedule … Oregon … bye … at Arizona … UCLA … ASU … at USC … WSU … at Stanford … at UW … Utah

New schedule … at Oregon … Utah … at Arizona … at USC … bye … ASU … at UW … UCLA … at Stanford … Oregon State … WSU

So … gaining Oregon State as a home game, losing Oregon as a home game

Sat., Sept. 26Sat., Nov. 14
ARIZONA STATE at ARIZONAARIZONA STATE at WASHINGTON STATE
USC at UCLAUSC at OREGON
COLORADO at OREGONUCLA at COLORADO
UTAH at WASHINGTON STATECALIFORNIA at ARIZONA
CALIFORNIA at OREGON STATEOREGON STATE at STANFORD
STANFORD at WASHINGTONWASHINGTON at UTAH
Sat., Oct. 3Fri., Nov. 20
ARIZONA at WASHINGTONOREGON at ARIZONA
UCLA at OREGON STATE
UTAH at COLORADOSat., Nov. 21
CALIFORNIA at USCARIZONA STATE at USC
STANFORD at ARIZONA STATEUCLA at WASHINGTON
OREGON at WASHINGTON STATECOLORADO at STANFORD
UTAH at CALIFORNIA
Fri., Oct. 9WASHINGTON STATE at OREGON STATE
ARIZONA STATE at OREGON
Fri., Nov. 27
Sat., Oct. 10USC at UTAH
USC at STANFORDWASHINGTON at WASHINGTON STATE
COLORADO at ARIZONA
OREGON STATE at UTAHSat., Nov. 28
WASHINGTON at CALIFORNIAARIZONA at UCLA
WASHINGTON STATE at UCLACALIFORNIA at ARIZONA STATE
OREGON STATE at COLORADO
Fri., Oct. 16STANFORD at OREGON
UTAH at UCLA
Fri., Dec. 4
Sat., Oct. 17UCLA at CALIFORNIA
COLORADO at USC
CALIFORNIA at WASHINGTON STATESat., Dec. 5
OREGON at OREGON STATEARIZONA at STANFORD
Bye – Arizona, ASU, Stanford, WashingtonOREGON at UTAH
OREGON STATE at ARIZONA STATE
Sat., Oct. 24WASHINGTON at USC
USC at ARIZONAWASHINGTON STATE at COLORADO
UCLA at ARIZONA STATE
STANFORD at CALIFORNIAPac-12 Postseason Lineup
OREGON STATE at WASHINGTONGame dates and times to be determined
Bye – Colorado, Utah, Oregon, WSU
CFP Championship (Miami, Fla.)
Fri., Oct. 30 CFP Semifinals
WASHINGTON STATE at STANFORD– Rose Bowl presented by Northwestern Mutual
– Allstate Sugar Bowl
Sat., Oct. 31Valero Alamo Bowl
ARIZONA at UTAHLas Vegas Bowl
ARIZONA STATE at COLORADOSan Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl
WASHINGTON at OREGONTony the Tiger Sun Bowl
Bye – USC, UCLA, California, OSULA Bowl
Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl
Fri., Nov. 6
COLORADO at WASHINGTON
Sat., Nov. 7
ARIZONA at OREGON STATE
UTAH at ARIZONA STATE
STANFORD at UCLA
OREGON at CALIFORNIA
WASHINGTON STATE at USC

Pac-12 will have one fewer bowl games (Redbox Bowl out for this year)

From the San Jose Mercury News … Even if there is a college football season, and a college football postseason, there won’t be a bowl game in the Bay Area.

The event most-recently known as the Redbox Bowl announced Friday that it is on hiatus.

Coronavirus is only partially at fault.

The 18-year-old event matched the Pac-12 against the Big Ten at Levi’s Stadium. But last winter, the 49ers made the decision “to not renew the current agreement,” according to the franchise.

Before the bowl game was able to secure a new home within the region, the pandemic struck.

It plans to find a new venue and return to the postseason stage following the 2021 season.

Unlike many of the postseason games, the Redbox was not owned by ESPN, and that independence made for a precarious position.

“The San Francisco 49ers and Levi’s Stadium have been incredible stewards of CFB over the last six years, and I, along with so many Bay Area College Football fans, am grateful for all they’ve done to support and promote the game,” executive director Ryan Oppelt explained in a statement.

“While it’s unfortunate that we are unable to stage the 19th iteration of the Bay Area’s Bowl game this December, I’m confident that the Bowl property, along with the entire live sports, events and tourism industry, will be in a healthier position next year, and we can’t wait to welcome new college football teams and fans back to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2021.”

Continue reading story here

Pac-12 schedule to be released at 2:00 p.m. 

The Pac-12 is conducting a media webinar (see below). Until press releases are out, we’ll be relying on Twitter.

… Hence, the return of the Ticker, with Twitter posts … 

Pete Thamel … Sources: Pac-12 plan will also give schools the option to delay the start of the season by a week. Week 1 opponents could push back the game to Dec. 12, for example, if playing that week doesn’t appear realistic. (Or if they can’t start camp.)

Pete Thamel … Sources: Pac-12 plans to start with aggressive scheduling — USC vs. UCLA, ASU vs Arizona and Washington vs Stanford planned for Week 1 on Sept 26.

Pete Thamel … Sources: Pac-12 planning on a 10-game schedule that starts on Sept. 26.

From the Pac-12 …

** MEDIA ADVISORY **
PAC-12 MEDIA WEBINAR

WHEN: Friday, July 31, 2020
1:00 p.m. PT/4:00 p.m. ET
WHAT: Webinar to discuss the 2020 Pac-12 football schedule and plans for fall sports.
PARTICIPANTS:
• Larry Scott, Pac-12 Commissioner
• Ray Anderson, Arizona State Vice President for University Athletics
• David Shaw, Stanford’s Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football
• Dr. Doug Aukerman, Oregon State Senior Associate Athletic Director, Sports Medicine

FORMAT: Pac-12 Networks’ Yogi Roth and Ashley Adamson will host a roundtable discussion regarding the 2020 Pac-12 football schedule and plans for fall sports based on the Pac-12 Medical Advisory Committee guidelines prioritizing health and safety. The discussion will occur during the first 15 minutes, followed by questions from the media.

—–

July 30th

… Foe Pause … 

CSU “pausing” team activities for two weeks

From ESPN … Colorado State is voluntarily pausing team activities to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19, the school announced Wednesday.

CSU has has eight positive coronavirus tests out of more than 140 administered since testing began last month. The entire team will be tested as early as next week, and Colorado State expects to resume activities within two weeks.

Earlier Wednesday, the state listed Colorado State athletics among its active outbreaks with eight positive COVID-19 cases and nine other probable cases.

“We are taking this step to voluntarily pause football activities to minimize the opportunity for this virus to spread any further,” athletic director Joe Parker said in a prepared statement. “We will always put the health and safety of our student-athletes and community first, and while we are disappointed to see this spread occur within our program, we remain encouraged for the continued collaboration we have experienced with our University’s Pandemic Preparedness Team, local, county, and state health officials.”

Lori Lynn, executive director of CSU’s health network, said in a statement that the school’s decision was not mandated by state or county public health officials and is meant to “meet or exceed public health guidance.”

SEC announces 10-game, conference-only schedule, starting September 26th

From CBS Sports … With college football schedules across the country in flux amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the SEC announced Thursday afternoon that it has moved to a 10-game, conference-only schedule for the 2020 season. The SEC is also pushing the start of its season to Saturday, Sept. 26, what was originally scheduled to be Week 4 of the 2020 campaign.

With the shift of the start of its season to Sept. 26, the SEC Championship Game will be pushed back two weeks to Saturday, Dec. 19. This creates flexibility amongst teams with two opportunities for makeup games as the adjusted schedule will feature a midseason bye week for each school and an open date for all programs on Dec. 12, one week before the title game.

It is unknown at this time how the SEC will fill out the additional two games of its conference-only schedule as the revised set of games will be announced by the league at a later date. SEC members traditionally play eight conference games each season: six inside their respective divisions, one permanent cross-division opponent and one rotational cross-division opponent.

… The 14 SEC presidents met virtually on Thursday to come to this scheduling decision one day after the league’s athletic directors proposed sticking with a conference-only model.

The SEC joins the Big Ten and Pac-12 by deciding to play a conference-only schedule in 2020. The ACC announced Wednesday that it will play an 11-game schedule with 10 intraleague contests and one nonconference game.

It is unknown at this time how the SEC’s decision may affect the ACC’s scheduling plans considering four key nonconference rivalry games (Florida-Florida State, Clemson-South Carolina, Georgia-Georgia Tech, Kentucky-Louisville) will be lost by the SEC’s move. Auburn-North Carolina and Arkansas-Notre Dame were other SEC-ACC games scheduled this season. (The Fighting Irish are operating as a full-fledged ACC member in 2020.)

Continue reading story here

—–

Report – Pac-12 tried to pay L.A. Times for positive coverage: “We were incredibly desperate”

From The Oregonian … The Pac-12 Conference had a publicity problem.

The conference was in deep distress in 2018. It was drowning in negative sentiment after an embarrassing instant-replay scandal in college football. The Pac-12′s basketball programs were coming off a winless showing in the men’s NCAA Tournament. And commissioner Larry Scott’s prized Pac-12 Network was stuck in distribution purgatory, still unavailable to large swaths of frustrated fans.

Said one longtime Pac-12 staffer: “We were incredibly desperate.”

The Pac-12 hired a high-profile crisis-management firm. The conference began working from a 34-page printed manual The Oregonian/OregonLive reported in 2019 — a playbook that directed the conference to “seek to identify positive voices that could shift the conversation.”

That plan further instructed the conference to “expand upon media partnerships” with two primary media platforms — the Los Angeles Times and The Players’ Tribune. According to emails and other documents, the conference struck a deal in 2018 with the Los Angeles Times that aimed to steer $100,000 in advertising to the newspaper in exchange for an expansion in conference coverage.

Said the Pac-12 staff member: “Literally, in a meeting, our communications people were like, ‘Is there anyone we can pay to write positive stories?’”

The Pac-12 coverage expanded.

But so did the drama.

Continue reading story here

—–

July 29th

… Foe Pause …

ACC announces 11-game schedule with one non-conference game; Notre Dame joins ACC for 2020 campaign

Related … SEC moving closer to ten-game conference only schedule … From Sports Illustrated

From CBS Sports … The ACC has made its decision about college football this fall, as well as its other fall Olympic sports. The conference announced Wednesday that its football season will begin play during the week of Sept. 7, originally scheduled as Week 2 of the 2020 season. ACC teams — plus partial league member Notre Dame — will play 11 games, including 10 ACC contests and one nonconference game against an opponent that resides in the home state of league members.

“Today’s decision was made after months of thoughtful planning by numerous individuals throughout the conference,” said ACC commissioner John Swofford in a release. “The Board’s decision presents a path, if public health guidance allows, to move forward with competition. Our institutions are committed to taking the necessary measures to facilitate the return in a safe and responsible manner. We recognize that we may need to be nimble and make adjustments in the future. We will be as prepared as possible should that need arise.”

Notre Dame will partake in the festivities and play a full 10-game ACC conference schedule, making it eligible to compete in the ACC Championship Game as a temporary 15th member of the conference in 2020. The ACC championship will be contested between the two teams at the top of the standings as the ACC will not play with divisions in 2020. The ACC Championship Game will be played on either Dec. 12 or Dec. 19 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.

All of Notre Dame’s nonconference games will still be televised on NBC, and accrued the television revenue — from both Notre Dame and the other 14 ACC schools — will be tallied and distributed equally among the 15 schools.

Continue reading story here

Arizona suspends starting right tackle for violating protocols

From Tucson.com … Arizona Wildcats offensive lineman Edgar Burrola has been suspended from the team for violating the athletic department’s COVID-19 protocols.

Burrola, a redshirt junior from Las Vegas who started six games at right tackle last season, remained on the roster with a reduced scholarship as of Tuesday afternoon.

Burrola’s resistance to following safety protocols, which include face coverings and physical distancing during on-campus workouts, led to concern within the program that Arizona could become another Michigan State or Rutgers — schools that shut down workouts because of coronavirus outbreaks. UA football players have continued to train, although the university stopped adding student-athletes to the reentry program because of a surge in cases in Pima County and throughout the state.

UA coach Kevin Sumlin confirmed Burrola’s status during an interview Tuesday. While not naming Burrola specifically, Sumlin addressed concerns the lineman and others have articulated about workouts and the safety measures the school has implemented.

“There’s some people that are saying that we’re making guys do this, we’re making guys do that,” Sumlin said. “What we are making them do is go through the protocol. And if you’re not gonna adhere to the protocol, then we can’t have you here.

“It’s my job to protect and uphold that protocol for everybody else that’s involved in this organization — players, coaches, administrators, medical (personnel). You’ve got coaches’ families.

“If you’re not gonna pay attention to the protocol, wear a mask, all that other stuff, we just can’t have you around.”

Arizona has announced that three players have tested positive for the virus since workouts began. The training is voluntary, and UA athletic director Dave Heeke has said multiple times that student-athletes can opt out of them without repercussions. Sumlin reiterated that sentiment Tuesday, saying that “a couple” players have elected not to participate.

Burrola, 21, implied in tweets that his scholarship had been reduced because he voiced concerns about his safety.

Continue reading story here

—–

51 Replies to “Pac-12 Notes”

  1. CSU just built a $200,000,000 or so stadium, so they can’t just walk away from football, but the latest story will probably result in the firing of their HC; he wasn’t an impressive hire. And, shuttling the program for a season that will be lost anyhow, then some restructuring/BK (don’t know how that works for a public school) but then how will the recovery of a global event that may drag out for a few years effect many of the other schools?

    They have the biggest debit of any G5 school, so they will push the boundaries on recovery, stay tuned.

    1. Bankruptcy really isn’t an option. The athletic department is not a separate entity from the University, just a subset. The entire University isn’t going under from this … just the Colorado taxpayers, who will ultimately end up footing the bill for CSU’s largess.

    2. Addazio want even unemployed for 2 weeks after he was fired and hired by the hapless rams. You wonder why they didnt hire Tony Alford. Addazio is just another one of the many fat white guys who will always have a job no matter how bad their history gets. If you want to factor in some of their buyouts per year actually on the job some of them are probably making as much as Saban for a year or 2…..for failing

      1. Urban Meyer (who was a position coach at CSU long ago) was involved and recommended Addazio who then hired Meyer’s son.

  2. Dang
    Cal owes 438 million? ai yi yi, sacre bleu, cowabunga. Professor salaries must be out of control like coach’s…and there is a lot more of them. I googled the tuition there: $14,235 per semester for instate…and hold on…wait for it…..$44,000 out of state.
    I was shocked to see Michigan and Ohio State well into the debt list too. The rust belt economy must still be rusty.
    I joked earlier about Bezos and the Saudis grubstaking football but that may be what it takes. Are Gates and Buffet football fans? I googled the Walton family donations and with no surprise almost all of them go to foundations whose research will benefit the company’s business models. One exception was $250,000 for the Razorback cheerleading squad….soooo weeee pigs.
    Someone in here mentioned the NFL’s free farm system. Maybe they should ante up.
    Sounds like my previous suggestion of restructuring with universal spending limits may be closer than I think. Even Ohio State and Michigan might have to participate….and maybe crappy coaches will quit getting ridiculous buyouts…..and dirt bags wont jump teams after one year.
    The covid effect

  3. If the comments of players and training staff members is true, this might be the beginning of the end for CSU football. How can you keep a coach that tries to cover up test results or symptoms. They are running on a razor thin budget as it is without this kind of publicity. This is not what college football needs at this time. I’m no CSU fan but this is a bad look for college football.

  4. Seems kind of strange the the WSU player wanted to do the workouts, go to practice and then not play in games……..usually its just the opposite.

    1. The times article spot on about the player’s bennies. I dont remember if the author mentioned the apprenticeship and audition for the NFL where they could become bazillionaires…. Even though only a handful make it I’m sure every starter on every FCS and FBS tram has some expectations.

      But then the author also mentioned the 1 million dollar salaries for coordinators. How much money does Saban get now 10 to 15 mill? Then there are the mulitimillion dollar facilities and on and on.
      I’m not using this to validate any player’s demands but I am wondering where all this is “going to end” too. Of course this new players union isn’t going to start their own league….unless someone with Bezos money or the Saudis grubstakes it. Wouldn’t that be a hoot. Picture Keith Jackson (RIP) introducing the Ridyah Roughnecks vs the Dubai Dorado….but I digress again.
      How many schools like WSU and the mutton farm are circling the drain? CU is hanging on for now but for how long?
      Maybe the top tier schools like Alabama, Ohio State etc could form their own super league.
      They could include 2nd or 3rd tier teams like Michigan and Texas whose fans would rather donate 10% of the gross to the team before they give anything to the local children’s hospital. That might even include the corn cobs whichever tier they belong in these days.
      The rest of us could reorganize under a different version of the NCAA where there would be limits each school could spend on facilities, travel coaches salaries etc. thereby providing a much leveler playing field and more exciting competition.

      1. I’m not against your idea ep. in fact I’ve wondered about a restructuring similar to what you’re proposing. It may be inevitable

  5. First of all if the WSU kid has sickle cell he would be stupid to play or even hang around and practice with the team. On the flip he should still be able to retain his scholarship due to his particular circumstances.
    As far as the rest of the team I can understand why they would be nervous about the protection standards. 6 feet one on one is probably fine. Playing against another team that has been tested before the game is fine but I would be nervous standing smack dab in the middle of the field, let alone on the bench on the sideline with 60,000 fans screaming their head off.
    I don’t know anything about the current health insurance situation for college players but I feel they should have some long term coverage for any complications that would be associated with playing football….unless they go the the NFL where I think they would fall into another umbrella.

    As for the rest of their demands….good luck. If it wasn’t for the massive amount of money flowing in and out of these programs they probably wouldn’t have tried in the first place.

    And then there is the sentiment for booting these players out of school altogether. The last thing I heard there weren’t any Buffs signed up for this little revolt. I wouldn’t bet any money at all on these programs that do have the rebels kicking them off the team when some other programs aren’t.
    Then there is the issue of fans in the stands which I have heard zilch from the conference about. On one hand you will have programs like Oregon and Utah wanting to pack em to the rafters when Cal, the nations hottest spot right now, probably wont let any in at all. Half the conference’s teams are in Cal and AZ which are 2 of the hottest spots right now. They aren’t going to like it when their home games aren’t like road games for their opponents.
    And then there is baseball which cant keep it off their teams. Can college football? But then again all the baseball players I met in high school were fairly obnoxious.

  6. Who cares. Let em play little league.

    Buffs.

    Note: Now if I was commissioner. I would get the boys together and tell em to put together the lockout. Kick em out of the dorms. Rescind scholarships. And of course anybody who wanted to play under the current compensation could come to the facility , stay at the dorms etc etc. Then it is time to get the scabs. “No Playee not Payee” Yup hard arse.

    Note 2. Did ya see the NBA and MLB had really good opening night tv ratings?
    Note 3: Did ya see the NBA and MLB had really bad 2nd night tv ratings?
    Note 4: “After the Love is Gone” Earth Wind and Fire………….appropriate eh?

    1. And did you there was Hockey on Saturday night? And I agree, rescind the scholarships! They can go sign up for the NFL draft and see where that gets them. Up with High School football.

  7. Can you imagine the class action suits from past players for compensation and insurance ?
    How about coaches paid 50 thousand/ yr rather than 5 million/ yr.
    Its coming

  8. Alright, 50% of net revenue and they have to pay their own tuition, no scholarships except what you can get on your own, just like every other student. If the institution is in the red, then they get nothing.

    All of their facilities are opened up to the entire student population during off season and to use these upgraded facilities, there is an additional fee, which they would be subject to. They have to pay for all of their own uniforms, clothing etc.

    Insurance, they should organize on their own to pay this out of their 50% for the number years after graduation.

    They also can split the 2% with the institution for support for underprivileged and racial inequality aid, meaning they pay 1%, the institution pays 1%.

    1. I like your post. Lots of CU degrees in our household. Came with work, loans, and a focus on education. No free rides. Now here we have people who have scholarships and stipends wanting more. I had plenty of athletic injuries but didn’t go asking for someone to pay my medical bills. I’m sure there are plenty of young people who would be willing to play and be proud to do so while focusing upon the main mission of getting a college education. The form your own league is a great suggestion.

  9. I was happy but surprised that none of CU’s worst teams were in that worse 25 of the last 50 years.
    I was surprised that none of the Fairbanks or Embree teams were chosen. CSU from 1981 was 15 and K State from 1987 and even Washington from 2008. Hard to believe that those Fairbanks teams that lost twice to Drake! and OU 82-42 weren’t listed. Or Embree’s team that lost to Sac State. That was some bad football.

    1. From my website guy … “looks like your SSL certificate expired and I didn’t get any notification! I’ll get that fixed asap.” It sounds like the computer equivalent of not paying the power bill.

      And … we’re back!

  10. Ya know, those cardboard cutouts are a damn perfect representative of the sad state of overpaid baseball. Nothing to see here. Americas game sucks. (Now I didn’t watch one game but I did get a glance of the “fakes” with sports center as a back ground. Baseball…………….a true virtual game for the fans.

    Middle Note: The NBA and their supposed platform is the worst.

    ESPN promoting this crappola………………Walt Disney world Peeves me as I can’t even stand it as background noise.

    But Thursday was a good day. Golf mostly all day if you were interested. Missing the real players so kinda ignored it………….but………..

    But Thursday evening was great

    NASCAR

    And it was great. Even on TV it’s great…………….Just can’t give it up

    Buffs

    Note: And here again if you think NASCAR is just about driving in circles yur highly mistaken. Great stuff going on there.

    Note 2: The Need for Speed is real

    Note 3: Of course if yur a Prius guy (az…….and a couple of others I am sure are) NASCAR won’t interest you. Bocce ball or Kornhole or Pickle ball would be pretty good for ya. Very exciting on TV.

    Note 4: After further consideration I really would like there to be college football again………..and soon. I don’t miss it yet cause we ain’t there yet where it is normally ramping up. But getting close.

    Buffs Again

    Babbling…………..sorry………….. you didn’t have to read it…………..

    1. Haha VK, “NASCAR is more than going in circles”, maybe, but as a major car enthusiast who has enjoyed a few dirt track events with midgets & full size cars; very thrilling with lot’s of action, the last NASCAR race I attended was nothing but a parade for the whole race.

      They were worried about rain in the forecast and were just trying to get the minimum number of laps in so they wouldn’t have to make up the race; a friend had the radio headphones & was listening to the pits. They had it timed out so they knew if no one crashed & if there were no stoppage they could just barely make to the time of the rain with the minimum, I think it was 100 laps.

      And that’s what they did, no passes or bumping for 98 laps! Then there was a couple of passes for 2nd-4th… and maybe some at the back too; but no one cared at that point. It just started to sprinkle for the last couple of laps, but only on the far back turn of the track, the rain hadn’t made it to the opposite diagonal side of the track yet, so the whole group politely slowed for that turn for the last couple of laps to complete the 100 lap goal (dry tires).

      I’ll never waste money on going to a NASCAR race again, unless it’s a dirt track, loads of fun to be seen there.

      1. We have a dirt track at our small burg too. Unfortunately some guy from Albuquerque usually shows up (not one of the Unsers) with the best machinery and blows away the locals.
        The biggest hoot is the high school run what ya brung category . You see fiat sedans, chevy vegas and a whole mish mash of 70s vintage rattle traps duking it out with surprising competitiveness. The kids line up out of their cars on the track after the race is over to take a bow and the crowd goes nuts. Never miss the demo derby either. The track organizers always have a car ready for some luck spectator whose name is drawn out of he hat to be the driver. Of course he/she gets the biggest cheers. I say “she” because one day it was a young woman who got to use the car and she tore everyone else a new one.

      2. Marcus,

        I been to Buff football games like that.

        Still go though.

        Buffs

        Note; Sorry you went to one of those types of races. Sheesh.

    2. hmmmm
      Bocce? is that a Euro card game?
      Kornhole? another synonym for stinkin linkin?
      and pickle ball. I didnt know pickles came in balls.
      Reading VK is always an educational experience.
      BTW
      Antonio Cromartie drives a Prius. I googled it. Even a few of those NFLers drive those teeny little smart cars like a second skin. Unfortunately my dad was one of those guys who thought you had to pick a car to enhance your image. Out here practicality rules. Gotta have that hefty four wheel drive truck for the ranch work and to tow the boat out to Powell a couple times a year. In spite of the brand name you seem like a Lincoln Navigator kind of guy. Did McConaughey sell you one?

      1. Yo ep

        those prius cars are the 7th car in their garages. Show baby. Suck you in.

        My cars
        Suburban
        Audi q5
        Audi s4

        So there ya have it

        Use to drive Porches
        Cadillacs

        But my fave of all time Was a car I bought through the px while in nam. It was at the dealer when I got home.

        picked it up
        1969 Mustang Mach1
        428
        Shaker scoop
        Hurst shifter

        Fast and mean looking
        Spoilers front and back
        The need for speed

        Buffs.

        Note: I also had Austin Healy and an MG and a triumph spitfire

        Note 2: Just so you know I also had a van converted to a “hippy van” while in school so i could cruise and sample the many pleasures of the earth.

        1. brand new Mach 1 right out of Nam? You werent in the black market over there, were you? One other thing on that note…..the 1969 model once again spilled the beans on the fact you might only be a couple of years younger than AZ. No wonder you stick to golf
          Dont know if I should admit it but we shared a couple of brands . Austin Healy 100-6 and 2 TR-4s. Still own the third 356 Porsche. Sold the first one to go to Europe in order to ride a Dunstall Norton around which I shipped home and also got its fair share of attention from adventurous women
          Stealth hippie…”sheeesh”

          1. Welp, I crashed 2 porsches………….944s turbo and the 928. so………….Wife said no more. Moved on to the more safe STS.

            Buffs.

            Note: I joined the army at 14

  11. Of course the SEC is going to have football. Even though some of them are going to anyway, they would rather die than miss a season. Being a footballist is way ahead of being a baptist. Yes it is a religion down there. I’m willing to bet, as much as they adore the president down there, if he took an unannounced test on the SEC mascots or the cities the schools are in, which he would fail miserably, half of em wouldn’t show up at the polls in November. What else is there? Now that NASCAR has banned the stars and bars I’m sure there are plenty of em wavering on that…and you can only get so many bass boats on a lake.
    No apparent reason the PAC 12 cant have football. if the Cal students are doing virtual only classes that will include the football players. Cal can do no fans in the stands and they would still save a ton of money with TV rights. Of course the players will have to be closely quarantined together and tested for the entire season which may include no girl friends or outside friends and family.
    They may have no choice with the girl friends if they are nervous about infection.
    You kinda wonder if even more saturation of football than exists already with the players would motivate them to play better or make them listless without much outside diversion. I think the younger Shenault has already show us how he would react.

  12. To be honest I root for the name on the front of the jersey much more so than on the back. So if the FB season gets pushed to spring and a lot of stars don’t play, it won’t bother me one bit.

    1. The inmates seem to be running the asylum in the NFL. I will watch the Broncos when they show them down here in Austin but I’m pretty much finished with the rest of the league.

  13. Washington State HS Football has been moved the spring, don’t think they will be the last…wondering the impact on ’21 season…will the NCAA require all incoming Frosh to redshirt? Or are they going to let 17 yr. olds play 2 seasons in 1 year????

  14. Acually I’m not sure I care anymore.
    Don’t care about the NBA at all
    Never watch MLS
    Baseball is not in my focus
    NHL for background noise only
    NASCAR, and this is a hard one for me, not on my much watch list
    Golf. Yup watch it
    College sports
    Love college softball
    Baseball is boring
    Like soccer at this level
    Like Lax
    Volleyball is interesting
    Basketball is kinda ok
    Football was but not so much anymore cause of all this crap

    Anyway have a nice day and Be safe and Pray for the children.

    1. Even though I can think of 999 other things I would rather waste 3 hours on I still understand why playing golf is popular.
      But watch it???
      Sacre Bleu!!
      (I’m going for the French version so I can quit using your German)
      I would rather hang drywall, try and kill gophers or go shopping at Walmart.
      Whenever we had to visit the in laws in a small town in Nebraska my father in law would hog the TV even if it was some lame driving range competition. It really pissed me off when we found out he would sleep through the whole thing and then had to have help getting put of his chair which was about three feet from the screen.
      Tell me that isnt you VK

      1. Welp ep clearly the powerful electromag machines in the secret silo have been burning on your brain. Clearly the agility, the power, the athleticism and the brains required to excel at golf elude, delude, and preclude your understanding of the true beauty of the athletes of this incredible sport.

        Unbelievable………………………

        Buffs.

        Note: It does not take 3 hours to indulge in an 18 hole round of golf. What a dummy.

        Note 2: IT TAKES 6 HOURS
        1 hour. Get dressed, shoot the poop with the boys….driving range,,,,putting green…chips
        4 hours. Play 18 holes and have a wonderful time
        1 hour. Settle up drink alcohol,…….eat appetizers.

        Note 3: Now if your in az’s group then ya gotta add at least 45 minutes on for slow play

        1. I now all about the “true beauty of the athletes” in your sport. I was a caddy at the Broadmoor one summer while I was in high school.
          Because I was a rookie I got all the catholic priests and army colonels who wouldnt tip. The day I quit we, the customer and I, were on the 3rd hole which was a blind dogleg with a narrow fairway and trees with high grass in the rough. I had already seen that I was a better golfer than the dunce I was with so before he teed off I started walking down the fairway to forecaddy knowing he was probably going to hit the rough and I wanted a head start on trying to find his ball. That turned out to be a huge insult and the golfer told me to get behind him instead while he did just that. After 5 or 10 minutes of vainly searching he lit into me for not being able to find his ball. Whereupon I threw his bag at him and told him to find his own Gott Dang ball. I thought about pulling another ball out of his bag and throwing it down while he wasnt looking but I had a line on another job on a foundation crew that payed something.
          To this day the only time I play golf is with a client who absolutely insists and I make sure he beats me…..and thank gott when its over.

  15. Yo Stuart,
    Rudy Carpenter is blowing smoke up everyone’s backsides. Methinks he made this up to get free publicity for his site.

    What’s the giveaway? The 50/50 revenue split.

    NFL’S players only get around 48 percent of the revenue per the collective bargaining agreement. College players will will certainly soon have the rights to their own names, images, and likenesses, but they will never ever ever get a share of the revenue of college football.

    Nor should they. They are getting a free education. They should use that education to learn some things to help them out for the rest of their lives.

    Only a small percentage will ever make it into the pros. That is their reward for being the best of the best on the college level.

    I know people who’ve been out of school for 20 to 30 years who are still paying off their student loans. No one should look at that free education lightly as if it didn’t matter.

    Carpenter is rabble rousing and blowing smoke. Nothing more.

  16. While I understand the risk these students face, as we all do, these students receive the best care and education possible for free. If they choose a different route they need to let others have their scholarship and let them decide. the same goes for the pros. If it bothers you to play then quit . Fans will be behind anyone willing to play the game how it was meant to be played.

    1. Now players want to go on strike if their demands are not met. Not just safety concerns which I understand but also economic incentives to play. The Pac 12 has had problems for awhile and this only adds to the pile. If CU gets a chance to go back to the Big 12 they would be foolish not to jump at the chance.

  17. Been watching a lot of history stuff in the last few weeks, not just the pandemic, but about various events of the 20th century that include WW1, the pandemic & the 1919 depression & then the roaring 20s & prohibition. So, more than a few things went bad before the roaring 20s, but once things went back to normal, the wants & needs took over & for about 9 years they had some good times & prosperity … even w/ prohibition.

    My point is simply that this won’t blow over in two or three months, but it will in time, just not in time for the immediate “wants”. We may just need to take a season off to keep our students, players, coaches & all others involved safe.

    It sucks, but I’m prepping for the worst, BUT hoping for something better, somewhere in between will probably happen (I hope); better than hoping for the best, but not being prepared for the worst.

    Maybe something in between can happen in the spring, but maybe we won’t see these athletes back until next year; only time will tell.

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