On Sept. 3, the Pac-12 announced a partnership with Quidel Corporation to provide daily testing to student-athletes in a press conference featuring Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott, Quidel President and CEO Doug Bryant, Oregon State Senior Associate Athletic Director for Sports Medicine Dr. Doug Aukerman and University of Washington section head of sports medicine Dr. Kim Harmon.
“This agreement is a major step for the safe return of sports competition in the Pac-12. The arrangement with Quidel will provide for frequent testing with rapid results,” Scott said. “This test is highly accurate, can be run in our athletic training rooms and can produce results in just 15 minutes.”
Quidel Corporation had the Sofia SARS Antigen Fluorescent Immunoassay approved by the Food and Drug Administration in May and will send testing machines to all Pac-12 schools by the end of the month. The partnership will also involve research, as data from tests will not only increase the safety of student-athletes but also aid in combating the COVID-19 pandemic through study. Bryant said similar testing agreements are already in place with several other athletic programs at universities around the nation.
In August, the Pac-12 canceled all sports for the remainder of 2020, joining the Big Ten as the two Power Five conferences without football this fall. While the use of testing with rapid results is an important change, Scott indicated that the Pac-12 would consider other data and the standards and requirements of local health authorities before returning to play. Oregon and California, where six Pac-12 schools, including Cal, are located, have yet to approve a return to contact sports.
“We will constantly revisit; we will constantly track the data and the science,” Scott said. “I’m hopeful today’s news and what’s coming from the NCAA will provide us a pathway to start before Jan. 1.”
Football and a multitude of contact sports could return to Pac-12 schools earlier than expected, and testing, coupled with the NCAA’s recent push for a later start date to the college basketball season, could create opportunities for Cal athletes to safely return to play sooner than anticipated.
Jasper Kenzo Sundeen covers football and is the deputy special issues editor. Contact him at