The players of the Big Ten aren't giving up on the 2020 college football season without a fight.
Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields posted a petition Sunday on behalf of Big Ten players, calling on the conference to reinstate the season:
"We, the football players of the Big Ten, together with the fans and supporters of college football, request that the Big Ten Conference immediately reinstate the 2020 football season. Allow Big Ten players/teams to make their own choice as to whether they wish to play or opt out this fall season. Allow Big Ten players/teams who choose to opt out of playing a fall season to do so without penality or repercussion.
"We want to play. We believe that safety protocols have been established and can be maintained to mitigate concerns of exposure to Covid 19. We believe that we should have the right to make decisions about what is best for our health and our future. Don’t let our hard work and sacrifice be in vain. #LetUsPlay!"
The petition has reached more than 35,000 signatures within a little more than an hour of Fields posting the plea on his Twitter feed.
The Big Ten postponed all fall sports, including football, last week due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Pac-12 followed suit a day later. The ACC, Big 12 and SEC are currently planning to move forward with their fall sports schedule, though that is subject to change.
Several factors went into the postponement of the Big Ten season, which polarized college football as a whole. Some viewed it as a prudent decision by the Big Ten to avoid any mass spreading of COVID-19. Others noted that the cancellation came not long after players in the Big Ten demanded accountability and safety from the universities in order to play the 2020 season.
The NCAA has prohibited conferences and schools from making players sign liability waivers to play during the 2020 season, so they could be considered liable in the event of a mass spread of the virus or death.
Per Dan Patrick (h/t Brett McMurphy), Big Ten presidents voted 12-2 to cancel the football season, with only Iowa and Nebraska voting in favor of playing the season.