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Pac-12 approves playing nonconference football games, with certain parameters

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A PAC-12 logo is displayed on the field before an NCAA college football game between Washington State and Oregon in Eugene, Ore., on Oct. 10, 2015.

Ryan Kang, Associated Press

Could No. 8-ranked BYU, off to an 8-0 start for the first time since 2001, play a Pac-12 team this fall? Will the Utes add a nonconference game to their schedule?

Theoretically, it’s possible now. The Pac-12 approved for its members to play nonconference games, as first reported by The Mercury News’ Jon Wilner on Thursday, as long as certain parameters are met.

“The Pac-12 is committed to maintaining maximum flexibility to provide our football student-athletes with an opportunity to compete, while continuing to ensure that health and safety remains our No. 1 priority,” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement.

This comes one day after Wilner reported discussions had taken place among league leaders about the possibility of allowing Pac-12 institutions to play out-of-conference games, if COVID-19 issues arose and forced cancellations during the conference’s six-week season.

These criteria must be met in order for a Pac-12 team to schedule a nonconference opponent:

  • The nonconference opponent must adhere to the Pac-12 COVID-19 testing and related protools.
  • Any nonconference contests will be a home game for a Pac-12 team and be broadcast by a Pac-12 television partner.
  • If a Pac-12 opponent becomes available by the end of day Thursday during any given week, a conference game between the two available Pac-12 programs must be played in lieu of a nonconference matchup.

So far, five Pac-12 games have been canceled due to COVID-19 issues, including two Utah football games — Nov. 7 against Arizona and Nov. 14 at UCLA. The Utes are scheduled to host USC this Saturday.

Yahoo! Sports reported Thursday that the Pac-12 is losing nearly $5 million in television revenue for every football game that is canceled due to COVID-19.

When asked for response to the Pac-12 news, BYU spokesperson Brett Pyne said, “BYU remains open to exploring options to add football games this season with schools from any conference playing non-league games, including the Pac-12, and will evaluate week-to-week.”