Pac-12's #WeAreUnited Group Asks For Help From California Gov.
A group of Pac-12 football players with the #WeAreUnited movement "met with officials" from California Gov. Gavin Newsom's office to "discuss concerns about their schools' COVID-19 protocols and protecting their college eligibility," according to Ralph Russo of the AP. The Pac-12 players hope an executive order from Newsom "could mandate player-approved, third-party oversight of COVID-19 rules at the Pac-12′s four California schools and ensure players who opt out of the coming season because of coronavirus won't lose a year of eligibility." The Pac-12 has said that athletes who opt out "will stay on scholarship this season, but whether they would be allowed to preserve their eligibility in that situation is undetermined." The players with #WeAreUnited are "expected to meet later this week with Pac-12 officials," but hope Newsom "can expedite their initiative." Stanford WR Elijah Higgins said, "The season is creeping up on us and we have no answers" (AP, 8/5).
JOINING THE MOVEMENT: Players from the Big Ten today followed in the footsteps of the Pac-12 in forming the #BigTenUnited. In a special to the PLAYER's TRIBUNE, players from the Big Ten note while they "appreciate" the conference's recently announced plan for the upcoming season, they "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," they believe any course of action moving forward "needs to include player input." The players are "deeply disappointed with the lack of leadership demonstrated by the NCAA with respect to player safety during the COVID-19 pandemic" (PLAYERSTRIBUNE.com, 8/5).
THE GOOD FIGHT: In Atlanta, Michael Cunningham writes the demands made by the #WeAreUnited movement are "not radical." They "want the same basic economic rights as all other adult citizens." If the players' demands "sound extreme, that's because the 'amateur' college sports model has been entrenched for too long." For a "chance at real reform, the Pac-12 players must stay united." They "must follow through on their threat to sit out if it comes to that" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 8/5).
MISSES THE MARK? In Portland, John Canzano writes he is "impressed that for the first time in some time athletes are attempting to wield some of the power they've always possessed." But the "credible demands are submarined by the group's threat to sit out the rapidly approaching season, and also, a request for a 50-50 revenue share of profits." Canzano: "Still, I thought Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott did the right thing in addressing the group with a now-leaked letter that validated their concerns." Scott "should follow up with a video conference call, and perhaps what could be born of this is a new football player-advisory board built with one member representative from each of the 12 conference football teams" (Portland OREGONIAN, 8/5).