As college football leaders work to rescue a football season worth billions in revenue from the threat of COVID-19, the players have become emboldened.
The latest act in this summer of college athlete empowerment comes from the West Coast, but there are already signs the movement could spread to other parts of the country.
A group of Pac-12 players Sunday presented a list of demands on issues ranging from healthy and safety to racial justice to economic rights. If they are not addressed — and exactly what that means is unclear — the players say they are prepared not to practice or play.
“It seems like the ball’s in the Pac-12′s court now,” Arizona State offensive lineman Cody Shear told AP.
Pac-12 referred to a statement it sent out Saturday, saying its support student-athletes “using their voices, and have regular communications with our student-athletes at many different levels on a range of topics.”
Shear was one of 13 players, including Oregon star safety Jevon Holland, from 10 schools listed on a news release sent to reporters. The players claim more than 400 of their Pac-12 peers have been communicating through a group chat app about a possible boycott. Oregon offensive lineman Penei Sewell, expected to be one of the first players taken in the next NFL draft, was among the players who showed support for the movement on social media along with Washington star defensive back Elijah Molden.
How many players would be willing to opt-out is hard to say.