BY Art Thiel 08:33PM 07/10/2020

Thiel: Only Pac-12 games; Hawks camp delay?

Pac-12 went conference-only for fall sports, meaning Washington dropped Utah St. and Sacramento St. Seahawks’ Carroll hinted NFL camps may get pushed back.

Following the lead of the Big-12, the Pac-12 Conference announced Friday it was dropping non-conference games.

The thresher of the coronavirus continues to make hay of optimistic sports schedules. The Pac-12 Conference Friday followed the Big Ten Conference’s lead and made the football schedules conference-only, meaning that Washington’s September games against Sacramento State and Utah State joined Michigan on the discard pile.

Utah State was also on the schedule 0f Washington State, which booked Houston and Idaho in the first three games, now lost.

Meanwhile in Renton, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, speaking for himself and not the NFL, said Friday he was good with backing up the July 28 start of training camp, given how the virus goes unchecked in the U.S.

“Whatever we need to do to do this right, is what I hope we do,” Carroll told ESPN 710 radio Friday. “If we’ve got to slow down a little bit to get started, that would be OK. There (are) a lot of unsettled issues right now between the league and the players.”

The NFL and its players union haven’t come to agreement on terms of the start, disagreeing on the number of exhibition game as well as safety conditions. There’s also a dispute about how salaries may be paid if the season is shortened.

“Right now, if we needed to take a step back and keep drawing information, it seems like we learn so much every couple days,” Carroll said. “There is so much information coming in. Whatever we need to do to do this right, is what I hope we do.”

In the college game, there was less dithering. In a release Friday afternoon, the Pac-12 presidents and chancellors voted to go conference-only for football, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball.

The ACC said earlier Friday that it will start no sports before Sept. 1, and make a decision in late July on football. The remaining two conferences in the Power 5, the SEC and Big 12, are waiting a few more weeks, as well.

“The health and safety of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports continues to be our number one priority,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott in a release. “Our decisions have and will be guided by science and data, and based upon the trends and indicators over the past days, it has become clear that we need to provide ourselves with maximum flexibility to schedule, and to delay any movement to the next phase of return-to-play activities.”

Underscoring the health point, the Pac-12 Twitter account reported Friday evening that Scott tested positive for the virus, but was working remotely from home.

The conference is also delaying the start of mandatory athletic activities “until a series of health and safety indicators, which have recently trended in a negative direction, provided sufficient positive data to enable a move to a second phase of return-to-play activities.”

Washington’s activities are supposed to start Monday. Athletes who choose not to participate over covid-19 concerns will have their scholarships honored and lose no standing.

The conference said it has developed a series of potential fall models, and a final call will be announced no later than July 31. It could include a shuffle of all remaining nine-game schedules, which at the moment has the Huskies opening at Oregon Oct. 3.

As part of the home-and-home series with Michigan, the Huskies are booked to play in Ann Arbor in 2021. The Seattle game could be re-booked into a vacancy each team has in 2023.

The revenue losses at all schools are officially piling up. UW recently implemented a 2020-21 budget reduced by 15 percent. In addition to pay cuts for all coaches, all professional, classified and union staff members, about 156 employees, including UW’s associate athletics directors, have to take furloughs that will last between two and four weeks.


  • James

    Imagine there’s no football
    It’s easy if you try
    Imagine no possessions
    And no halftime too
    I wonder if you can
    Nothing to bet or play for
    Imagine Hawks and Niners living life in peace

    • art thiel

      Back away from the pipe, James.

      • James

        Nothing to kick or dive for?

  • jafabian

    IMO it’s a mistake to continue to work when you’re diagnosed with COVID19. You need to rest in order to let your body fight it. British PM Boris Johnson attempted to telecommute while self quarantining himself and that almost got him killed. It’s a virus that kills. You can’t take it lightly.

    There seems to be a lot of shuffling around in the sports world right now as Fall gets closer despite the seeming success NASCAR has had. I would like to think that the spike in numbers for diagnosed and deaths from the virus as well as Dr. Fauci’s comments that half the states should consider shutting down again is giving the sports world pause but I think they’re just worried about liability and as always, money. It’s almost like they are waiting for someone to make a move that they can bandwagon on so they won’t have to be accountable for their own actions.

    • Lodowick

      Yes, if symptoms strike, shut it down. But for the healthy and under 80 group, symptoms don’t usually hit hard if they show up at all. The World Health Organization has the world-wide fatality rate for Covid-19 at just 0.64%. It will likely finish at 0.5% or lower. It appears to be dropping. For now. But all bets are off in the fall so it will be interesting to see if they elect to start with a stoppage very possible, if not likely.

      • art thiel

        The mortality rate is not the only measure. With each passing day comes more evidence about long-term damage to organs and systems in survivors. And the disease’s ease of transmission is crushing our health-care system.

        • Lodowick

          I can’t deny what you say. The virus has done measurable damage to the health care system and also unmeasurable damage to the health care system, which may be worse. Hats off to our front line care workers. However, for all pro leagues it should be clear to one and all that this time now may present the best window to work in the next 12 months. No one in sports should think they are definitely working and getting paid next year. Hopefully the unions and front offices have a plan in place to loan to the needy, if this extends. What is that plan, by the way? It’s July 12. D-Day is nearing, when we need a full go. Let’s manage it the best we can, compassionately, mitigating risk as best as we are able.

          • art thiel

            Nothing says “best window” now. Zero. It’s getting worse. And no one can do anything but guess as to the pandemic’s course.

      • jafabian

        That’s a misleading statistic. Worldwide numbers are slowly dropping but it’s been widely reported that in the US the numbers for those diagnosed and who have died are rising. Diagnosed has risen to record numbers every day this week. In other countries they have done exactly what has been recommended: wearing masks, washing hands, etc. In some countries that’s a way of life. Ichiro has always said one of the first things he immediately noticed about America is how men don’t always wash their hands when using a public rest room. So you can’t look at worldwide numbers but rather look at how those numbers are here.

    • art thiel

      Symptoms vary with each person, as does physiology, so it’s hard to diagnose from afar. I’ll trust he can follow doctor’s orders.

      Every sport has unique circumstances and calendars, but they all have to try to create a way forward. It’s the athletes who are at risk, and they need every question answered before offering services.

      • jafabian

        With medical professionals being reported that it’s the 20-30 year age range that is spreading the virus by ignoring precautions and UW’s Greek row reporting 137 outbreaks 5 days ago I’m wondering if a school shuts down would the football team still play? After all they’re the cash cow for the Athletic Department. They could still play in an empty stadium a la NASCAR. Also wondering if only 1 or 2 teams shut down would conference play still go on?

        Football brings not just fans into the stadium. There’s tailgating/sailgating, gatherings at restaurants and bars and even at homes. All prime conditions for COVID19. Sure schools aren’t responsible for those but it’s something to be aware of.

        • art thiel

          The school presidents and Scott agree: No students, no football. To shovel out the players to amuse us while campuses remain too dangerous for students would be a new low for even the craven NCAA.

  • Larry StoneB

    Coach Carroll, “… to do.. to do.. doobey doobey do…”

    • coug73

      To do, or not to do, that is the question.

  • Husky73

    Great opening sentence , Art.

  • Husky73

    New cases on July 9th…UK 516…Germany 208…Japan 206…Australia 137…Sweden 57…Denmark 47…Norway 11…United States 57,209

    • James

      So we’re winning, bigly.

    • art thiel

      Well, those other countries don’t have Seattle’s Greek Row.

  • SeattleSince57

    Is it science that tells us that only conference games are safe to play?

  • Alan Harrison

    Another domino. More to come.