How about some good coronavirus news for a change? Today, the Pac-12 announced it is partnering with diagnostic test leader Quidel Corporation to offer daily rapid-results testing for COVID-19 for student-athletes across all of its campuses for all close-contact sports.
Quidel’s Sofia 2 testing machines, which produce results in 15 minutes, and tests are expected to be delivered to each of the Pac-12’s athletic departments by the end of September. Last month, the league shut down all sports until January 2021, but over the coming weeks, officials will review this breakthrough with its sport planning committees to determine when it’s safe to return to competition.
“This is a major step toward the safe resumption of Pac-12 sport competitions,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. “The availability of a reliable test that can be administered daily, with almost immediate results, addresses one of the key concerns that was expressed by our medical advisory committee, as well as by student-athletes, coaches and others. At the same time, our partnership with Quidel, the industry leader in point-of-care antigen testing, will provide crucial research data that will benefit our members’ communities as well as the entire country.”
What does this mean for Pac-12 football? Six universities (UCLA, Cal, USC, Stanford, Oregon, Oregon State) are still not allowed to start practice due to local health guidelines, so it may be too late for fall football; however, Scott said they weren’t expecting this kind of testing to be available until November, so it may allow the league to start basketball by the NCAA’s new start date of November 25. That could put Kentucky’s game vs. UCLA in the CBS Sports Classic back into play.
Regardless, this kind of rapid-results testing is great news for all of us. Fingers crossed.