The list has a lot of reasonable points but there are some requests that feel like pipedreams, according to KSL Unrivaled.
Commissioner Larry Scott wrote a response to the athletes. He is open and wanting to have a conversation about the players’ concerns.
What Are Players Asking For?
These Pac-12 players realize at this time they have a lot of power to possibly force some changes, so they are striking while the iron is hot.
Some outsiders may see these athletes as entitled for asking for certain protections and even benefits. KSL Sports’ and host of KSL Unrivaled Scott Mitchell – a former Division I quarterback – doesn’t see it that way.
“It’s not an issue paying the players. Yeah, it’s not an issue of spoiled players,” Mitchell said. “It’s really a culture that is speaking up and speaking out. I don’t know if it’s because of this COVID-19 virus and that everyone’s been locked down and locked up, and I’m not sure what it is, but it’s you know, I think of the era that I went to school or even as recently as just a few years ago, and you just wouldn’t see the players do this.”
Part of the reason this wouldn’t come to fruition a few years ago is that players have more access to reach out to each other and band together thanks to social media. Now, there is the added layer of current social issues with a spotlight shining on racial injustices in the United States.
Time is of the essence as college athletes are not around long enough to truly make a difference during their time, but by starting now and getting younger players involved to keep the movement going could be a way to make a change.
“It’s really hard when you’re a college student to be able to organize. You’re not there long enough,” Mitchell added. “You know, most guys are only there four or five years and you move on and it’s hard because you don’t if you’re a good player in college, you have leverage because you have value. I’ve just been impressed with the fact that these players are bold enough to do this but also organized enough.
“Initially, when I saw this [letter] this morning, I’m like, ‘You guys are off your rocker, like, this is crazy talk. This is not going to happen.’ I don’t know how much leverage they ultimately have, but I will say that I believe a lot of things are saying make a lot of sense. Well, some of them are crazy, but there’s a lot of it that makes sense.”
Playing Through A Pandemic Is Wrong
The biggest issue these players have is that college football is trying to be played during a global pandemic only so those who make money of the sport can continue to do so – and the players don’t make any of that money.
KSL Unrivaled host Alex Kirry goes along with the idea that playing through COVID-19 is a bit harsh as college athletes do not have the same luxury as professional athletes.
“One of the things that caught me right off the bat was that they feel like, and this one made sense, a little bit more sense to me in the letter,” Kirry said. “It says, ‘We’re being asked to play college football in a pandemic, in a system without enforced health and safety standards, without transparency about COVID-19 cases on our teams, and to risk ourselves, our families and our communities.’
“I do think that these players are being told, ‘Listen, let’s start playing some football again, OK? Because college football, we kind of need you so we can feel like we’re getting back to normal.’ It is insane to think that we’re asking these guys and it’s different,” Kirry said. “The NBA players can opt-out and take a half a million-dollar salary and I am going to sit out the rest of the year. In the end, these college football players which the NCAA does not do right by them, hardly ever when it comes to transferring when it comes to extra years of eligibility and things like that.”
Getting the attention of the commissioner is a big first step because Scott could have written a statement and pushing this aside but instead, he did address the players’ requests.
There will be compromising from the players, the conference and individual schools if the season is to go on.
This movement from within the Pac-12 is just the start of something big and very likely beneficial for these college football players and athletes overall for years to come, according to KSL Unrivaled.