While professional football, baseball, and basketball players have been opting out of their upcoming seasons by the dozens, less has been heard from the nation’s collegiate athletes.
Well, that’s beginning to change.
According to a report obtained by ESPN, a group of players from several different Pac-12 schools have threatened to sit out preseason and regular season games unless the Pac-12 makes certain concessions. In a text message from the group, the aim is to “obtain a written contract with the Pac-12 that legally ensures we are offered the following protections and benefits.”
The list includes:
— Ensure safe play during COVID-19
— Fight racial injustice
— Secure economic rights and fair compensation
— Protect all sports
— Obtain long-term health insurance
Though, according to the conference, they haven’t heard from this group of players.
“Neither the Conference nor our university athletics departments have been contacted by this group regarding these topics,” the Pac-12 said in a statement. “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. As we have clearly stated with respect to our fall competition plans, we are, and always will be, directed by medical experts, with the health, safety and well being of our student athletes, coaches and staff always the first priority. We have made it clear that any student athlete who chooses not to return to competition for health or safety reasons will have their scholarship protected.”
The Pac-12 delayed the start of their season and went to a 1-game conference only schedule in an attempt to mitigate the effects of COVID-19. Preseason for the Pac-12 is scheduled to start August 17th. However, USC, UCLA, and California, would not be able to take part in those activities since they are located in areas that are still operating under coronavirus restrictions.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn