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Pac-12 Logo on the field at Rice-Eccles Stadium
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Report: Group Of Pac-12 Football Players Threaten To Opt-Out Of 2020 Season

Pac-12 Logo on the field at Rice-Eccles Stadium (Photo by Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A group of football players from schools in the Pac-12 Conference threatened to sit out the upcoming 2020 season, according to ESPN.

On Saturday, August 1, ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg and Mark Schlach reported that the players have threatened to sit out “preseason camps and games until its negotiations with the league regarding concerns about racial injustice, their safety during the coronavirus pandemic and other demands are completed.”

In a text message obtained by the sports network, the group’s goal is to  “obtain a written contract with the Pac- 12 that legally ensures we are offered the following protections and benefits.”

On Friday, July 31, the conference released 10-game conference-only football schedules for its schools. The Pac-12 is set to begin the college football season with a delayed start date of September 26.

ESPN reported that the group of players made a list of demands that includes:

  • Safe play amid the pandemic,
  • Fighting racial injustice,
  • Securing economic rights and fair compensation,
  • Protecting all sports
  • Obtaining long-term health insurance

The Pac-12 Conference responded to ESPN’s report with the following statement:

“Neither the Conference nor our university athletics departments have been contacted by this group regarding these topics. We support our student-athletes using their voice and have regular communications with our student-athletes at many different levels on a range of topics. As we have clearly stated with respect to our fall competition plans, we are, and always will be, directed by medical experts, with the health, safety and well being of our student athletes, coaches and staff always the first priority. We have made it clear that any student athlete who chooses not to return to competition for health or safety reasons will have their scholarship protected.” – Pac-12 Conference

According to ESPN’s report, the group of players “plan to make a public ‘statement of unity’ and a list of their demands as early as Sunday through traditional and social media.”