Pac-12 Players 'Deeply Concerned' by Larry Scott's Return-to-Play Policies

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistAugust 8, 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 Conference will allow voluntary workouts on campus for all sports beginning June 15, subject to the decision of each individual school and where allowed by local and state guidelines, the conference announced Tuesday, May 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso, File)
Ralph Freso/Associated Press

The initial meeting between Pac-12 players and conference commissioner Larry Scott reportedly didn't ease any of the concerns players had about playing sports this fall. 

Per ESPN's Kyle Bonagura, a letter signed by 18 Pac-12 athletes sent to Scott said they were "left disappointed and deeply concerned that you are not taking this matter seriously" after the two sides met on Thursday. 

The meeting was organized after a group of Pac-12 athletes wrote an article for the Players Tribune that published on Aug. 2.

The article included a list of demands in order to play sports in the fall, including health and safety protocols amid the coronavirus pandemic, support of the fight to end racial injustice throughout sports and society, healthcare coverage for sports-related medical conditions and a 50-50 revenue split. 

According to Bonagura, a "primary" point of contention from the meeting stemmed from a disagreement over regular coronavirus testing. 

Players have asked for "daily testing and a consistent conference-wide testing policy," but they wrote in the letter that Scott told them "necessary tests were 'unavailable' and that it would be 'impossible' to mandate testing and best-practice COVID precautions conference wide."

Per Bonagura, Scott did send the players a separate letter before he received the one from them, stating that their questions about testing protocols would be brought to the Pac-12 medical advisory committee and would have additional information "in the very near future." 

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The Pac-12 has adjusted its football schedule for the 2020 season so that schools only play conference games. The conference CEO group also approved competition start dates in other fall sports, including men's and women's soccer, women's volleyball, and men's and women's cross country.

Week 1 of the football season is scheduled to be played Sept. 26, with the regular season running through Dec. 5. The Pac-12 Championship Game will be held on either Dec. 18 or 19.