The Pac-12 could open its 2020 football season in mid-to-late November instead of next spring, ESPN reported Monday.

Along with the Big Ten, the Pac-12 stated in August that fall sports would be played in the spring. And while the Big Ten campus leaders reportedly could vote this week on playing a fall football season, the Pac-12's medical technology could allow games to be played sooner than expected.

The conference announced on Sept. 3 a deal with Quidel Corp. that would allow for daily and rapid COVID-19 testing of athletes in "close-contact" sports. The testing apparatus is expected to be delivered to each campus by the end of September, but there will be a learning curve with the technology.

And still, public health officials in California and Oregon -- home to half of the conference's six schools -- have not given the OK for contact practices. The coronavirus pandemic and wildfires in both states have stalled a return to activities.

ESPN reported that conference officials are aiming for football teams to have six weeks of preparation for a new season, pushing the return well into November.

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

--Field Level Media

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