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1,000 Big Ten football players demand better COVID-19 safety plan

Photo by Jeff Hanisch, USATSI

Photo by Jeff Hanisch, USATSI

This morning, the Big Ten released its schedule for the 2020 season, which calls for games to begin as early as September 3. Only a few hours later, a group of over 1,000 Big Ten football players is calling upon the conference and the NCAA to put a better COVID-19 plan in place to ensure their safety.

In an article for The Players’ Tribune, the College Athlete Unity (CAU) shared the players’ concerns about the Big Ten’s current COVID-19 safety plan and the lack of leadership by the NCAA. When it comes to the latter, the language is pretty blistering, and rightly so.

While we appreciate the Big Ten’s recently announced plan for the upcoming season, we believe that the conference’s proposal falls short in certain areas. Given that the players are the primary stakeholders in the business of college sports, we believe any course of action moving forward needs to include player input. We are deeply disappointed with the lack of leadership demonstrated by the NCAA with respect to player safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe that the NCAA must — on its own and through collaboration with the conference — devise a comprehensive plan to ensure the safety and well-being of players leading up to and during the upcoming fall season.

The NCAA — which is known for its zeal for regulations and enforcement — has had ample time to prepare for the safe return of its athletes to competition, yet it has done nothing. Its laissez-faire approach is forcing each conference and each school to create its own plan, resulting in inconsistent policies, procedures and protocols.

The players, under the moniker #BigTenUnited, also shared their own proposal. Here are just a few of their demands:

  • In-season testing of all of the above three days per week, including the day of competition
  • Whistleblower protections for athletics personnel and college athletes reporting a suspected violation
  • Ban the use of COVID-19 liability waivers
  • Automatic medical redshirt for any player who misses any competitions due to a positive test or a mandatory quarantine due to contact tracing
  • Complimentary access to the Big Ten Network for athletes’ family members
  • Coverage for all out-of-pocket medical expenses related to COVID-19 (both short-term and long-term) incurred by active college athletes

You can read the entire letter here. While the Big Ten players don’t go as far as the Pac-12 group that threatened to sit out the season if their demands weren’t met, it’s pretty much implied.

“We have started a dialogue in good faith with the Big Ten and hope that the NCAA will follow suit. Given the short time frame, and with our season at stake, this conversation must happen now.”

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

20 Comments for 1,000 Big Ten football players demand better COVID-19 safety plan

  1. big cat
    11:47 am August 5, 2020 Permalink

    Sit down you bunch of pansies. Libbies gonna destroy college sports.

    • wildcats8
      1:53 pm August 5, 2020 Permalink

      Where does this article discuss their political parties? I’m as far right as you but turning a deadly virus political is asinine.

    • satcheluk
      8:40 pm August 5, 2020 Permalink

      U r a puss.

  2. michaelb
    12:21 pm August 5, 2020 Permalink

    Big10 hasn’t shown much interest in football in a while now , this is not surprising to me lol

    • bgoad72
      1:59 pm August 5, 2020 Permalink

      This is funny ^^^

  3. bigblue98
    12:39 pm August 5, 2020 Permalink

    Did you even read the article? Nothing they’re asking for is out of line. They’re not asking for money.

  4. PensacolaCat
    1:36 pm August 5, 2020 Permalink

    So they want to be able to sue if they get infected or is the liability waiver referring to something else?

    • Lyle Evans
      2:51 pm August 5, 2020 Permalink

      It’s a good demand. What people don’t understand about the possibility of being liable for negligence is, it makes the person who might be liable actually manage the risk. If the players give a waiver, the schools would have less incentive to be careful. Even if the schools just get insurance to manage their risk, the players are better off.

    • satcheluk
      8:41 pm August 5, 2020 Permalink

      Lyle, you are talking to a moron, so good luck.

  5. PensacolaCat
    1:38 pm August 5, 2020 Permalink

    I’m not opposed to proper precautions being in place, but I get the since that players don’t want to play this fall. That is pretty shocking to me.

    • wildcats8
      1:51 pm August 5, 2020 Permalink

      If the pros don’t want to play out the season that they are making millions to play in then why would college amateurs

  6. T-Town Cat
    1:39 pm August 5, 2020 Permalink

    I’m not sure what access to the Big Ten Network means, but the other requests seem to be things I would expect Power 5 schools to be already doing.

  7. PensacolaCat
    1:39 pm August 5, 2020 Permalink


  8. ukbradstith
    2:06 pm August 5, 2020 Permalink

    Paid subscription for families.

  9. Hi Im Reality
    2:09 pm August 5, 2020 Permalink

    Big Ten Network is a Cable/Satellite Channel, like the SEC Network, but bigger with 4 or 5 channels.

  10. michaelb
    2:26 pm August 5, 2020 Permalink

    Big 10 not interested in football… business as usual. : D

  11. Lyle Evans
    2:48 pm August 5, 2020 Permalink

    What the players are saying makes perfect sense.

  12. Lip Man 1
    4:01 pm August 5, 2020 Permalink

    Good for the players in the Big-10 and the Pac-12.

    If they don’t get a reasonable response they should sit out.

    Look for the other Power 5 conference athletes to be next in this endevour.

  13. runningunnin.454
    6:18 pm August 5, 2020 Permalink

    This is much more reasonable than the PAC-12 demands; also, it seems the PAC-12 players had zero legal council with the draft of their letter, and it appeared to be written by a high school freshman.
    The Big 10 letter was much more impressive, especially their command of the French language.

  14. satcheluk
    8:43 pm August 5, 2020 Permalink

    I don’t find any issue with any of the demands. Good for them to hold the conference accountable . The players have all the leverage.