Hundreds of Pac-12 football players announced on Sunday they will sit out the season unless the conference agrees to meet several of their demands regarding health and safety practices, and economic inequality.
The Players of the Pac-12 will opt-out of fall camp and game participation due to COVID-19 and other serious concerns unless the conference guarantees in writing to protect and benefit both scholarship athletes and walk-ons. #WeAreUnited https://t.co/KQ3oqdB5BL
— The Players' Tribune (@PlayersTribune) August 2, 2020
Some of the demands in the players’ manifesto include major salary cuts for Larry Scott and other execs, elimination of COVID waivers, and players receiving 50% revenue sharing.
Pac-12 players demands not to boycott season include: commish Larry Scott, administrators & coaches must drastically reduce salaries; distribute 50% of each sport’s Pac-12 revenue among athletes in each sport & prohibit COVID agreements waiving liability https://t.co/b4lVebHc0c
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) August 2, 2020
This is perhaps a watershed moment in college sports. PAC 12 football players are threatening to boycott the season unless their civil rights demands are met, including:
1. COVID protections
2. revenue sharing for athletes
3. guaranteed scholarshipshttps://t.co/QUVaitr2lH
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) August 2, 2020
Several players sat down with Sports Illustrated’s Rohan Nadkarni to explain their reasoning for standing up to the Pac-12.
NEW: Multiple Pac-12 athletes spoke to SI about opting out of the football season if their voices aren’t heard.
“We’re not your entertainment, we’re human beings.”
“This is bigger than our individual selves. This is for all future college athletes.”https://t.co/q7L7K6v4KZ
— Rohan Nadkarni (@RohanNadkarni) August 2, 2020
Talking about Black Lives Matter as a social issue, the wealth gap is such a huge part of it,” Daltoso said. “Guys who come from low-income backgrounds, when they leave go school they can go back to having nothing. One small group of people are pulling in all the money when it could go to so many communities.”
“We’re trying to empower the lives of our teammates, change their lives and change the trajectory of their families’ lives,” Elisha Guidry, a defensive back at UCLA, told SI. “Especially Black lives. That’s who mostly make up these sports, and are disproportionately affected by the pandemic.”
The coronavirus has put a spotlight on a lot of the injustices in college athletics,” Cal offensive lineman Valentino Daltoso told Sports Illustrated. “The way to affect change and the way to get your voice heard is to affect the bottom line. Our power as players comes from being together. The only way to do this is to do something collectively.”
The Pac-12 is currently discussing how to resume the season during the pandemic and it seems like they’re going to need to negotiate with players if they have an intention of playing football this season.
As of now, members have yet to make a statement in regards to the players demands.