Group of Pac-12 football players threatening to boycott, has demands for safety, compensation, racial injusti – OregonLive

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A group of Pac-12 football players is attempting to unify and threaten to boycott preseason practices and games until their demands for safety, racial injustice and compensation are met by the conference.

A graphic circulating among players within the conference, and obtained and publicized by The Athletic, ESPN and Yahoo Sports, states a public announcement will be made Monday via The Players’ Tribune and social media from the group of unidentified players, reportedly numbering into the hundreds at schools across the conference.

The graphic states, “our goal is to obtain a written contract with the Pac-12 that legally ensures we are offered the following protections and benefits,” and goes on to list the following:

  • Ensure safe play during COVID-19
  • Fight racial injustice
  • Secure economic rights and fair compensation
  • Protect all sports
  • Obtain long-term health insurance

The Pac-12 says it has not been contacted by this group of unidentified players, nor have any of its members’ athletics departments.

“Neither the Conference nor our university athletics departments have been contacted by this group regarding these topics,” the Pac-12 said in a statement. “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.”

On Monday, the University of Oregon’s office of public records told The Oregonian/OregonLive the school didn’t have any records responsive to a request for “any correspondence or list of demands from Pac-12 student-athletes (or their representatives) related to playing or practicing for the 2020 and 2021 football seasons.”

On July 17, former Arizona State quarterback Rudy Carpenter, now a private quarterback coach and broadcaster, posted a series of tweets referencing a movement among Pac-12 football players threatening to boycott if demands for COVID-19 testing and protocols, revenue sharing and long-term health insurance were not met.

The publicizing of the framework of demands from Pac-12 players comes a day after the conference announced its revised 10-game, conference-only football schedule for the fall and approval by the conference’s presidents and chancellors for football teams to begin the 20-hours per week of mandatory summer access workouts and walk-throughs on Monday, with fall camps to begin as soon as Aug. 17.

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott noted that those dates, while approved, are not presently viable for some of the league’s schools. USC and UCLA athletes are not presently permitted to work out in indoor gyms, while Oregon Health Authority guidelines do not permit for the play and practice of contact sports, including football, which would be problematic for Oregon and Oregon State later this month.

Asked Friday afternoon how confident he is that there will be a football season this fall, Scott admitted there is great uncertainty.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I think we are all trying to take it a step at a time. We are cautiously optimistic sitting here today. But as Dr. (Doug) Aukerman mentioned and we tried to reinforce, there are elements outside of our control that are going to have a lot of influence on that question. What’s happening in our communities? What’s happening on our campuses? A lot of that’s got to do with mask wearing, social distancing, other things. What happens when thousands of students come back to our campus? None of us have the answer to that question.

“We feel a tremendous obligation however for the health and well-being of our student-athletes, including their mental health, to provide every opportunity possible to be able to play. We understand how important, whether it’s college football, men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball, being able to practice with your team, being able to play, if possible, if it can be safe.”

Scott continued: “We understand because we’ve heard loud and clear and I hear regularly directly and indirectly from our student-athletes how important it is to have the structure, to have something you’re so passionate about, that they’ve worked so hard for, to preserve that opportunity for them. And that’s what we’re determined to do: to create the opportunity, preserve the opportunity, if the health conditions and the community conditions allow us to go forward and if public health authorities allow us to go forward. That’s our mindset. But I can’t make a prediction.”

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