With Pac-12 Conference schools gearing up for a football season, some players in the conference are threatening to opt out of 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,” ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg and Mark Schlabach reported Saturday.
Rittenberg and Schlabach first reported that text message communication has taken place among a group of players, with the stated goal of obtaining “a written contract” that ensures safe play amid the pandemic, fighting racial injustice, securing economic rights and fair compensation, protecting all sports and obtaining long-term health insurance.
ESPN reported that the group of players “from Cal, Oregon, Stanford and UCLA and other schools” could make a “public statement of unity” and a list of demands as early as Sunday.
“Neither the Conference nor our university athletics departments have been contacted by this group regarding these topics,” a Pac-12 statement to ESPN said. “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.”