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Pac-12 coaches determined practice guideline for COVID-19 Return to Play

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TUCSON (KVOA) -- Two days and play. 

That’s what the Pac-12 men’s basketball coaches decided on prior to the start of this COVID-19 shortened season in terms of how many practices teams would need to be able to “Return to Play” after a pause in activities as a result of the Coronavirus. 

The Pac-12 Conference worked with its coaches to determine guidelines for this season. 

So far five men’s basketball programs (Colorado, Oregon, Oregon State, USC and Utah) have paused their team activities due to COVID-19. 

Two other schools (Arizona State and Washington State) have canceled games as a result of the Coronavirus but did not issue an official pause. 

Oregon is currently on a pause which began on January 12. 

USC had the most significant shutdown. It lasted 20 days. The Trojans played on December 8 and then paused their program on December 13 for two weeks (December 27). 

The Trojans were the first team to return under the “two full practices and play” rule. 

Their first game back on December 29 was a non-conference affair against Santa Clara which they won. 

The Pac-12 has had five men's basketball teams officially pause team activities due to COVID-19 (Photo courtesy: MGN/Pac-12)

So. California hosted Colorado two days later (December 31) at home and lost by ten points. The Trojans have not dropped a game since, winning six in a row. 

The Buffaloes' pause (December 3) lasted just two days. It did however force the cancelation of the CU’s initial conference-opener at UA. 

Washington State postponed their initial Pac-12 opener against Colorado on December 5 due to the virus. 

The Buffaloes thus went ten days between non-conference games. 

The Cougars sat a week between contests but returned to the court with a pair of non-conference wins over Idaho and Portland State. 

Utah's pause came at the beginning of the season in late November when head coach Larry Krystowiak and eight players tested positive for COVID-19. The Utes also later had to cancel a game at Arizona State (December 22).

Oregon State went on pause on January 4 for seven days. 

They were the first team “on pause” to return and have to play a conference game. 

The Beavers returned to team activities on January 11 and two nights later were blown out by Arizona at home 98-64. 

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The Ducks will be the next team to have to face a conference opponent in a “return to play” situation. 

So far the Wildcats, UCLA, California, Washington and Stanford have not reported COVID-19 cases within their programs.

The Pac-12 Conference says teams on pause are not completely shutdown. 

The conference’s medical committee permits individual conditioning for players who are not in the COVID-19 protocol. 

Copyright 2021 News 4 Tucson. All rights reserved. 

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David Kelly

David Kelly is the weekend sports anchor at KVOA in Tucson. He is a 28-year veteran of the sports broadcast business.

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