College Football Stars Press an Urgent Case: ‘We Want to Play’


Emboldened by the imperiling of the school soccer season and a summer time of social activism, a few of the sport’s largest stars pressured directors on Monday to permit the video games to go on below the suitable circumstances — and raised the prospect of extra formally organizing sooner or later, a disputed strategy previously.

In messages on Twitter, the gamers, together with Justin Fields of Ohio State, Najee Harris of Alabama and Trevor Lawrence of Clemson, pointedly declared: “We want to play football this season.” They urged school soccer to undertake common well being tips; stated that gamers ought to be allowed to decide out, as some have already got; and declared that they needed to use their “voices to establish open communication and trust between players and officials.”

The sweeping show amounted to a merger of actions inside school sports activities — some gamers had warned that they’d not take the sphere this fall until colleges took better steps to guarantee their security — and it opened one other entrance within the protracted debate over the rights of unpaid student-athletes, an difficulty that has come below scrutiny on Capitol Hill and in America’s statehouses in latest months.

Lawrence, a quarterback who performed in final season’s nationwide championship recreation and whose season is scheduled to start on Sept. 12, at Wake Forest, spent a lot of the weekend laying the groundwork for a marketing campaign to play regardless of the pandemic.

“We are more likely to get the virus in everyday life than playing football,” Lawrence stated in a sequence of posts on Twitter. “Having a season also incentivizes players being safe and taking all of the right precautions to try to avoid contracting covid because the season/ teammates safety is on the line. Without the season, as we’ve seen already, people will not social distance or wear masks and take the proper precautions.”

Some well being specialists and sports activities executives are deeply skeptical of these arguments, and a few gamers have been, too. Last week, Connecticut, an impartial in soccer, canceled its season, and its players said in a statement that they had “many health concerns and not enough is known about the potential long-term effects of contracting Covid-19.”

“We love this game and love competing,” they added. “We came to campus in the beginning of July knowing there would be challenges presented by the pandemic but it is apparent to us now that these challenges are impossible to overcome.”

Although UConn officials said they responded to the misgivings of their players, it was not clear how college sports leaders would respond to the new public pressure to stage a season, similar to the social campaigns mounted by players in Major League Baseball and the National Football League as their unions negotiated with team owners.

The most powerful conferences in college sports — the Atlantic Coast, the Big Ten, the Big 12, the Pac-12 and the Southeastern — have all announced revised plans to play, but cautioned that they could still cancel the season because of the pandemic.

The A.C.C. moved to an 11-game schedule, allowing for one out-of-conference game for each team and including Notre Dame, an independent in football, among its ranks, while the Big Ten, the Pac-12 and the SEC elected to try for 10-game, conference-only seasons. The Big 12 opted for a schedule of nine conference games for each team, plus a nonconference matchup. Some of the conferences also delayed the start dates of their seasons and pushed back their plans for league championship games.

The Big Ten is scheduled to be the first league to open conference play, with a game between Ohio State and Illinois planned for Sept. 3. But the league said on Saturday that its teams would not proceed to practice with pads, and it acknowledged “many questions regarding how this impacts schedules, as well as the feasibility of proceeding forward with the season at all.”



Source link Nytimes.com

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