2020.1.1.EMG.MFK.FTB.Rose Bowl-4.jpg

President Schill stares at the scoreboard as the game comes to an end. Oregon Ducks football takes on Wisconsin for the 106th Rose Bowl Game at Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, Calif. on Jan. 1, 2020. (Maddie Knight/Emerald)

The Pac-12 conference will delay the start of fall sports due to the COVID-19 outbreak. As a result, the marquee football matchup scheduled for Sept. 12 between presumed preseason top-10 teams Oregon and Ohio State has been cancelled. 

The Pac-12 will shelve nonconference football games for the 2020 season. After the Big Ten conference announced on Thursday that it would cancel its nonconference football games, the Pac-12 followed suit, becoming the second major conference to announce a conference-only schedule. 

Beyond the much-anticipated matchup on the gridiron against the Buckeyes, the Ducks were also slated to host potential first-round quarterback Trey Lance and FCS darling North Dakota State on Sept. 5. That, too, will no longer happen.

The move will have a ripple effect for other fall sports, including soccer and volleyball. The league cited the uptick in COVID-19 cases as the reason why the conference is cancelling games. The states of Oregon, California and Arizona in particular have struggled to contain their COVID-19 outbreaks.

“The health and safety of our student athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports continues to be our number one priority,” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said. 

Although the news is unsurprising, this comes as a major disappointment for Oregon football, who had a strong nonconference schedule lined up and entered the 2020 season with momentum after winning the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day.

“Competitive sports are an integral part of the educational experience for our student athletes,” University of Oregon President Michael Schill said. “And we will do everything that we can to support them in achieving their dreams while at the same time ensuring that their health and safety is at the forefront.”