Pac-12 CFB Players Reveal Demands to NCAA over Racial Injustice, COVID-19 Safety

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 2, 2020

FILE - This Aug. 29, 2019, file photo shows the Pac-12 logo at Sun Devil Stadium during the second half of an NCAA college football game between Arizona State and Kent State in Tempe, Ariz. The Pac-12 has become the second major conference to shift to a conference-only fall schedule amid growing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso, File)
Ralph Freso/Associated Press

Student athletes from the Pac-12 released their list of demands Sunday amid concerns about the 2020 college football season in an essay posted to The Players' Tribune.

The players are calling for health and safety protection in light of the coronavirus pandemic—including the ability to opt out without losing eligibility—the protection of other collegiate sports besides football, helping end racial injustice in college sports and economic freedom for players.

Players from multiple schools are threatening to opt out of training camp and games during the regular season until negotiations with the league are completed, per Adam Rittenberg and Mark Schlabach of ESPN.

"Because we are being asked to play college sports in a pandemic in a system without enforced health and safety standards and without transparency about COVID cases on our teams, the risks to ourselves, our families and our communities, #WeAreUnited," the group wrote.

Per Rittenberg and Schlabach, the movement reportedly includes more than 100 players, with Cal, Oregon, Stanford and UCLA and other schools involved.

The league has remade its 2020 schedule for a conference-only season amid concerns for the COVID-19 pandemic. Each team is slated to play 10 games, beginning Sept. 26 and ending in December.

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There are still concerns from the players, who are asking for "player-approved health and safety standards enforced by a third party" regarding the coronavirus. There is also a call for medical insurance for athletes that goes beyond their playing careers.

Additionally, they are asking for protection of other sports after several schools were forced to cut programs in non-revenue events. Stanford dropped 11 varsity programs in July, but the players argued the school could utilize its $27.7 billion endowment.

The demands also include other notable topics, including racial equality and economic freedom for student athletes.

The players are calling for a civic-engagement task force while requesting two percent of conference revenue go toward financial aid, community initiatives and more.

This is also an opportunity to push for name, image and likeness rights, allowing players to earn money outside of their scholarship.

"We support our student athletes using their voice and have regular communications with our student athletes at many different levels on a range of topics," the Pac-12 said in a statement.

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