According to sources familiar with the discussions, athletic directors from USC and UCLA joined forces and held a joint zoom call Wednesday evening with Los Angeles County health officials to clear the way for football teams to begin practice.
And it worked.
“It was encouraging,” said a source.
Given that the Pac-12 presidents approved a move, a move that could come as soon as possible on Friday, the teams are preparing to conduct full-squad practice.
The development – in which Mike Bohan of USC and Martin Jarmond of UCLA banded together to gain clarity from health officials – is the latest significant development to return to play in the Pac-12’s collective push.
Earlier on Wednesday, California Governor Gavin Newsome lifted state health restrictions that barred four California schools from conducting traditional practices. For example: No more than 12 players.
Newsom’s move allows schools to deal directly with local authorities on safety protocols.
(Kate Brown of Oregon did the same for Oregon and Oregon State.)
Sources said LA County officials indicated they would not practice 11-on-11 fashion with full contact en route to the Bruins and Trojans.
The Ram & Chargers, located just a few miles from USC’s campus, have been practicing for weeks.
But independence for the California Four is not yet complete. Stanford and Cal must still work with their local authorities – Santa Clara County and the City of Berkeley – to obtain clearance.
Development in Los Angeles County could help lift restrictions in the Bay area, noting that the Kovid-19 is more prevalent in Southern California.
The president of Pac-12 will meet on Friday and can approve the return to play process with a formal vote or consensus.
The focus of that discussion will be whether teams should wait for the expected rapid-response antigen trials at the end of the month.
If the team starts practicing later this month, the season could begin on Halliven.
In addition, USC and UCLA have received approval for indoor athletic activity, sources said, an important step in the return of basketball.
The NCAA announced to begin on November 25 for the basketball regular season, meaning Pac-12 teams must be on the court in late October to practice.
The approval provided by LA County earlier this week should allow Bruce and the Trojans to hit that target.
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