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Pac-12 cancels 2020 football season, other sports amid coronavirus concerns

The Pac-12 announced on Tuesday that all athletic competition will be shut down until 2021, which means both fall and winter sports will be affected.

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Pac-12 Conference announced on Tuesday that all athletic competition will be postponed until 2021.

Most notably, that includes college football, which the conference will try to play next spring.

The conference decided to move forward with this decision after a meeting with the Pac-12 Medical Advisory Board. They were concerned about contact practices. 

“The health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports has been our number one priority since the start of this current crisis,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. “Our student-athletes, fans, staff and all those who love college sports would like to have seen the season played this calendar year as originally planned, and we know how disappointing this is.”

Washington State Athletic director Pat Chun released a statement on Tuesday in response to the news. 

"Today the Pac-12 Conference announced that all fall sports will be postponed," he said. "While WSU supports the decision, there is a profound sadness and disappointment for our fall sport student-athletes, coaches and staff. They gave extraordinary effort to create an environment committed to health, safety and well-being since their voluntary return in June."

"The commitment, patience and hard work they have shown should be commended. This year continues to be a winding road with unforeseen twists and turns. Regardless, as a WSU Athletic Family, we will continue to serve, support and prioritize our student-athletes in all we do," the statement continues. 

FOX Sports writer Bruce Feldman first reported that Pac-12 coaches and athletic directors had a meeting on Monday night with commissioner Larry Scott.

According to Thamel, the meeting was "eye-opening" and many leaders felt "it made it real" when the link between coronavirus and myocarditis was explained to them more.

Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart that has been found in some COVID-19 cases. It is believed to be a potential long-term complication, even if the person is young and healthy.

Pac-12 leaders also met with leaders from the other Power Five conferences this past weekend to discuss the outlook on playing this fall.

The Big Ten also announced on Tuesday that the conference is moving football to the spring of 2021.

RELATED: Big Ten won't play football in the fall amid coronavirus concerns

The decision to move the season comes days after many college football players around the country, including some of the biggest names in the sport like Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, took to social media with posts headlined with the hashtag #WeWantToPlay.

In a graphic, designed by Washington State defensive lineman Dallas Hobbs, players outlined their desire to play on Sunday night. However, they wanted to do it in a way where there are safe procedures and protocols to protect college athletes.

This followed a #WeAreUnited movement started by Pac-12 football players that made demands of the conference on safety during the pandemic, racial injustice, protecting all sports and compensation.

At the time of those demands, hundreds of Pac-12 players threatened to sit out this season if demands weren't met.

Student-athletes affected by this decision will still be guaranteed their scholarships. Any athlete that opts out of playing this season will be granted another year of eligibility.

While competition is not permitted until January 1, 2021 at the earliest, commissioner Larry Scott said in a press conference on Tuesday that practices could begin prior to that if the conference deems it's safe enough to do so.