The Los Angeles County Public Health Department confirmed Thursday that it will not place any further restrictions on USC and UCLA football beyond what is mandated by the state of California. As long as USC and UCLA are complying with state and NCAA directives, they are permitted to play football in Los Angeles County.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a press conference Wednesday the state has nothing in place that would restrict teams in California from playing. The state’s COVID-19 interim guidelines include disallowing college athletics to practice in groups larger than 12, making a full football scrimmage against state rules. The ruling does not apply to games, only practice.
Newsom said there is nothing in California’s guidelines that denies the Pac-12 from playing conference games, leaving county and city restrictions to be sorted out.
The official confirmation from L.A. County comes one day after USC athletic director Mike Bohn and UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond met with county health officials to discuss COVID-19 protocols.
The Los Angeles schools received the clearance they need to practice, but the Bay Area schools are still working with their public health authorities. Alameda County and City of Berkeley health organizations are still limiting Cal to voluntary workouts under spacing protocols. As a result, the Bears have not started preseason training camp. Santa Clara County has yet to lift restrictions on Stanford’s football program, and university officials have yet to comment on the situation.
If county approval is given, the Pac-12 plans to hold six weeks of practice and start the season by the end of October or early November.
According to ESPN, the Pac-12′s CEO Group is scheduled to meet Friday afternoon to discuss restart scenarios with the conference’s medical advisory group.