Saturday, October 31

LA County eases practice restrictions, UCLA and USC football wait on Pac-12 approval

UCLA football could soon return to full team practices following the decision from Los Angeles County health officials to allow teams to practice in groups of more than 12. (Tanmay Shankar/Daily Bruin senior staff)

The Bruins’ last practice as a team was March 11.

Over six months later, they may have a path to a return.

UCLA and USC athletic directors Martin Jarmond and Mike Bohn met with Los Angeles County health officials over Zoom to clear a path for the schools’ football teams to begin full practices, The Mercury News reported Wednesday night. California state guidelines that restricted student-athletes from practicing in cohorts of more than 12 people were lifted earlier Wednesday after back-and-forth public confusion

A UCLA Athletics spokesperson said they could not confirm or deny whether the meeting of athletic directors occurred, but reiterated that the team was still in Phase Three of its Return to Training plan. That phase includes some coach-led instruction, with all team activities taking place outdoors and in groups of less than 12.

The Mercury News, however, reported UCLA and USC are both preparing to resume full-contact practices when the Pac-12 gives the green light to move on to that stage, and LA County officials would not oppose.

COVID-19 cases in California have slowly been dropping, with Gov. Gavin Newsom announcing a 3.6% testing positivity rate this week – the lowest it has been since May. Numbers in LA County are following a similar trend, with a seven-day average testing positivity rate of 3.3% as of Wednesday.

With another hurdle potentially out of the way for the Pac-12’s LA squads, the announcement of a fall season may not be far behind.

A Pac-12 CEOs meeting will take place Friday, and multiple outlets have reported the conference could announce start dates for the football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball seasons. Football season could reportedly start as soon as late October.

To meet coach Chip Kelly’s requirement for six weeks of practice before an Oct. 31 kickoff, UCLA’s full roster would need to get back to Wasserman Football Center by Saturday.

A vote on the seasons’ timelines is not required to take place at the meeting Friday, but a consensus could still be reached.

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Sports senior staff

Connon is currently a Sports senior staff writer for the football and men's basketball beats. He was the Sports editor for the 2019-2020 academic year, an assistant Sports editor on the baseball, men's soccer, cross country, men's golf and women's golf beats from 2018-2019 and a reporter on the baseball and women's basketball beats from 2017-2018. Connon also contributes movie reviews for Arts & Entertainment and co-hosts Daily Bruin Sports' weekly podcast, "Out of Bounds." Connon is a rising fourth-year Communication student from Winchester, Massachusetts.

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