Several small conferences have already cancelled their football season. And there are rumors everywhere that the next shoe to drop will be the Power 5 conferences cancelling their fall season. But not if the players have anything to do with it.
Several top players from across the country, representing all Power 5 conferences, released a statement Sunday night calling for an opportunity to play, and perhaps more notably their desire to create a players association.
Several players tweeted out a statement that was put together on a Zoom call with representatives from the PAC-12, Big 10, Big 12, SEC, and ACC, according to Clemson running back Darien Rencher. Players that sent out the statement include quarterback Justin Fields and running back Master Teague III, Clemson’s Rencher and quarterback Trevor Lawrence, Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler, California offensive tackle Jake Curhan, and Texas wide receiver Tarik Black.
The statement read:
“We all want to play football this season.
Establish universal mandated health &safety procedures and protocols to protect college-athletes against COVID-19 among all conferences throughout the NCAA.
Give players the opportunity to opt out and respect their decision.
Guarantee eligibility whether a player chooses to play the season or not.
Use our voices to establish open communication & trust between players and officials; ultimately create a college football players association.
Representative of the players of all Power 5 conferences.”
Some believe that the buzz around cancelling the season has more to do with the potential unionization of players than it does COVID-19, but that would not explain the domino effect of smaller conferences cancelling before the big guys. Regardless of the causal relationship between coronavirus, the cancellation of games, and the players standing united and demanding change, this is a pivotal time for college athletics in America. The way things look on the other side of this may look nothing like what we are used to.