The return of college sports could be closer than initially expected. On Sept. 3, the Pac-12 and Commissioner Larry Scott announced the conference’s COVID-19 testing partnership with the medical diagnostic corporation, Quidel. The partnership will allow for rapid testing and 15-minute results for student-athletes in hopes of preventing infection and transmission.
In August, the Pac-12 made the decision to postpone all athletic events through 2020. A rapid-result test was not expected to arrive on a large-scale basis until late November at the earliest.
By the end of September, Quidel plans to place its Sofia 2 testing machine in every Pac-12 athletic facility. Quidel president and CEO Douglas Bryant said the machines are already being used by several universities’ athletic departments.
“When we made our decision to not start competition before Jan. 1 (2021), it was based on the information in front of us, leading with what public health authorities will allow us to do and not having access to the kind of testing we will now have access to by the end of the month,” Scott said in a media conference on Sept. 3.
Scott said the agreement with Quidel will provide regular and accurate data that can benefit both the conference and Quidel in their ongoing COVID-19 research.
There is still uncertainty of what this means for football and other fall sports, but the availability of rapid COVID-19 test results does bring optimism. The winter sports of men’s and women’s basketball could benefit as well.
“This is a major new development,” Scott said. “We will wait to see what the NCAA decides in terms of hopefully a later start date that allows us to participate. We always said we will constantly revisit and we will constantly track the data and the science. As circumstances change, I think we’re going to stay nimble and regularly convene with our athletic directors, with our university presidents and chancellors, and evaluate.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Michelle Lopez at firstname.lastname@example.org.