While a group reportedly comprising 400 players in the PAC-12 recently got on a group chat where players discussed and ultimately formed a list of demands and threatened a boycott, and players around the Big Ten released a similar list of things they'd like to see changed with the #BigTenUnited movement, a growing number of players are stepping up to share that those movements don't represent all of college football.
Ohio State captain Tuf Borland issued the following statement and it is quite a read.
Quite a different message than we have been hearing from players' groups around the country.
Two days ago a letter showed up on the Players Tribune titled: Big Ten United. It read in part:
To the NCAA and the Big Ten Conference,
College Athlete Unity (CAU) is going on record to express the concerns of over 1,000 Big Ten football players. CAU members represent 23 different varsity sports at schools in every major conference, as well as across every NCAA division, the NAIA, and U Sport (Canada). CAU seeks to empower collegiate athletes to use their platforms for change. We support the right of all athletes to stand up and speak out.
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.
Given that the NCAA and conference leadership have not asked for our input, we feel compelled to call for clarity, commitment, and action regarding our common-sense proposal below.
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.
Head here to see the full letter on the Players Tribune.
Ohio State's leadership has been clear from the get-go about putting its players' health and well-being at the forefront moving forward throughout the pandemic. This approach:
A) Is obviously the right thing to do.
B) Will pay dividends down the road, as recruits hear current Buckeyes sing the staff's praises in public and in private.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest information.