Oregon Ducks

Karma bit Oregon in the backside, but the Ducks will recover

imgonline-com-ua-twotoone-kjljnno7iyl.jpg
USA Today

Karma bit Oregon in the backside, but the Ducks will recover

In the end, Oregon got what it deserved. 

Karma bit the Ducks in the backside when former coach Willie Taggart, after one Swag Surfin' season, hopped on his boogie board and glided out of town to become Florida State's new coach, leaving behind a lot of angry UO fans and jilted players (see Troy Dye).

For the first time ever (or at least based on what I can tell), an Oregon football coach has flat out left the program for another college job. It's no coincidence that this occurred a year after Oregon fired a coach for the first time in 40 years. 

Yes, I'm back on the Mark Helfrich kick once again. But only because I warned this time last year last year that firing Helfrich after one losing season and just two years removed from guiding Oregon to the nation title game could set into motion a vicious cycle of coaches coming in and out of the program for a variety of reasons. 

[NBC Sports Gold “Blazers Pass” 15-game Blazers package for fans without NBC Sports Northwest $34.99 – click to learn more and buy]

Here we are a year later and the Ducks are already searching for their second coach post Helfrich. 

What's most amusing is all of the whining about "loyalty." Really? Loyalty is not sending a group of coaches that had accomplished so much at Oregon out to recruit when the writing was on the wall that they would be fired, then firing them while they literally were in the process of meeting with recruits. That was a messed up and totally disrespectful move by athletic director Rob Mullens on every level.

One recruit's family member, who wished to remain anonymous, recalled an awkward home visit with Helfrich, who clearly believed he was on thin ice. Helfrich told the family that he didn't know if he would remain Oregon's coach while also trying to recruit the player to UO.

That's just wrong. Let's go ahead and set aside Helfrich for a moment, how does one place in the same situation former long-time assistants like Steve Greatwood, Don Pellum, Gary Campbell, Tom Osborne and John Neal? 

Those guys only helped anchor the greatest era in Oregon football and what will likely remain the greatest era into the near future unless the Ducks magically win a national title, which remains only remotely possible. 

How Taggart dealt with Oregon's players is another story. But in terms of the business side of things. spare me the talk about how disloyal Taggart was to a program he worked for only one year. Especially considering that he didn't leave the Ducks for, say, Arkansas or Louisville. He left Oregon for Florida State, an all-time marquee program that Oregon can't measure up to, and it just so happens to be the team he grew up rooting for while growing up in Palmetto, Fla., where his widowed mother still resides. 

That, right there, is loyalty. Loyalty to family. Loyalty to roots. Loyalty to that childhood connection many of you have with Oregon. And, yes, loyalty to the almighty dollar, because Florida State offered more money (six years and $30 million) than Oregon did. 

And don't think that Taggart hadn't noticed how Helfrich and company were treated when fired.

During a candid conversation with Taggart last February, he said that he believed that the previous staff were unfairly fired given all that they had accomplished. But, that's the business, he added. On Tuesday, he played that business to his advantage. 

Oregon had avoided that side of the business for decades because the program didn't panic when things went south, as they did last year when the Ducks went 4-8 under Helfrich during the program's first losing season in 12 years. Oregon had a legacy coaching tree in place that went from Rich Brooks to Mike Bellotti to Chip Kelly to Helfrich. The latter three were promoted from within after serving as offensive coordinators to their predecessor. Bellotti retired from coaching in 2009 order to promote Kelly. Kelly left for the NFL in 2013 opening the door for Helfrich. All three came within a game, or two, of winning the national title. 

Then, well, Oregon got too big for its britches. The Ducks fans and hierarchy decided that the program was far too big to ever have a down season, which of course is absurd. So, UO blew out the former coaching staff and set out to find someone that would return the program to glory. 

That someone was expected to be Taggart. Oops. 

What Mullens should have done last year was sat Helfrich down and given him the "win or else" talk. Mullens should have made it clear that he must at least reach a bowl game in 2017 and reestablish discipline in the locker room.

One former assistant coach who didn't believe that the staff would be fired up until they were, stated late last season that had the staff returned in 2017 and had another losing season, he would fire himself.  

Instead, Mullens pulled the trigger last year. Clearly, he believed that Oregon could do better than a staff that had won four Pac-12 titles, two Rose Bowls and a Fiesta Bowl in six years. Yet, he ended up striking out with all of the so-called "big named" candidates before hiring a young coach in Taggart on the speculation that he was ready to thrive. 

Truth be told, I liked the hire. It was a bold roll of the dice on a young coach. Oh, and he is African-American, which for me (also African-American and long annoyed by the clear racism involved when it comes to the hiring of football coaches of color) earned Mullens triple bonus points.  

But the right move still remains to have given Helfrich and company one year to turn things around. With quarterback Justin Herbert in place, that turnaround would have happened and Oregon wouldn't be in the mess that it is now. 

The good news is that Oregon should still be able to find a good coach to lead what will be a potentially really good team in 2018. The trick, though, is finding someone that cares as much about Oregon as Oregon cares about winning. 

For all of its bells and whistles, Oregon is not a marquee job. The stadium is small, it's tough to get to Eugene, the region is short on recruits, the fan base is fickle and not nearly as rooted as they are in places such as Michigan, Nebraska, Texas and Florida State. Oregon has accomplished a lot with many disadvantages thanks to what was an innovative offense, Nike's support and brilliant marketing that elevated the Ducks brand, making UO a desirable place to play for high-end recruits. But not many proven coaches out there are going to view Oregon as a destination job. Helfrich did. But UO wasn't even on Taggart's radar until he interviewed for the job. 

So where does UO go from here. 

Kevin Sumlin and Mario Cristobal are good options. Sumlin, fired this year by Texas A&M, is looking to rebuild his career. Cristobal, once fired by Florida International and from Miami, Fla., longs to return to being a head coach. 

But would either consider Oregon a place to set up roots? At this point, Mullens will have to build a contract for UO's next coach that makes it very painful to leave for another collegiate program.  He failed to do that with Taggart. However, I'll bet that Taggart and his agent, Jimmy Sexton, would not have allowed such language to get in the way of the coach taking off for FSU. 

All of this is why I want to see Oregon go after California coach Justin Wilcox. He is an up-and-coming talent that has deep connections to Oregon. He played there. His brother, father and uncle also played there. He likely wouldn't leave Oregon down the road unless it were to jump to the NFL. 

Hiring Wilcox would return the Ducks to a place that values connections and roots, a formula tha worked so well for 40 years, save for a few bumps in the road such as the 2016 season. 

Whatever Oregon does, the Ducks will have a chance to return to greatness but will never avoid having bumps in the road here and there. Few programs ever do.  

But maybe returning to the past in terms of how the program hires and fire people should be more important than the unrealistic quest to become something the program will never be, a place strong enough to keep a Taggart from jetting off to a Florida State.  

At the end of the day, the entire Helfrich debate comes down to one more year. Had he succeeded, everyone would be happy. Had he failed, then he would be gone. The former staff deserved that one year more so than a Florida State fan with ambitions beyond Oregon. 

Oregon Ducks 4-star LB commit Keith Brown to sit out senior HS season

Oregon Ducks 4-star LB commit Keith Brown to sit out senior HS season

Oregon high school football has seen the last of one of the best in-state prospects of the last few years. 

Lebanon High School inside linebacker and Oregon Ducks commit Keith Brown has announced he will sit out his senior season in wake of the OSAA announcing that all fall sports, including football, will be moved to begin in March.

"I Will Be Forgoing My Senior Season Due To Fall Sports Being Pushed To The Spring," tweeted Brown. "Thank You Highschool Football. KB Out." 

He later confirmed he will be early enrolling at the University of Oregon to participate in spring football in preparation for his true freshman season. 

[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

Four-star center commit Jackson Light also confirmed he will enroll early.

Brown committed to the University of Oregon following a visit during the Ducks rivalry game against Oregon State last November. At the time, he was the nation's highest-rated inside linebacker in the 2021 recruiting class.

[RELATED]: Oregon lands nation's No. 1 inside linebacker 2021 recruit Keith Brown

Since then, he has fallen to "only" the nation's No. 4 inside linebacker and the 98th overall player in the country as a composite four-star recruit. 

Since his commitment, Brown has been vocal in recruiting other top high school prospects to join the flock en route to the nation's No. 4 composite recruiting class in 2021. 

With so much talent coming to Eugene, Brown is confident that the program will be competing for a national championship. 

"[We will have] the No. 1 defense in the country, and we’ll be in the national championship without a doubt because we’ll have good guys coming in," Brown told The Athletic about what he sees the 2022 Oregon football team accomplishing.

[RELATED]: Two words keep coming up in why recruits choose Oregon: National Championship

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent]

What we learned from the NCAA’s announcement regarding fall sports

What we learned from the NCAA’s announcement regarding fall sports

The state of college football and other Division I sports in the fall remains uncertain due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Each power 5 conference (besides the Big 12) has announced a new 2020 football schedule with solely conference opponents starting in late September. The Big Ten was the last of the power 5 conferences to make this announcement, which occurred on Wednesday.

Now that all power 5 conferences have slated a conference-only football schedule, the NCAA Board of Directors also announced on Wednesday to let each school and conference decide on what to do about fall sports relating to preseason, regular season and postseason activities.

The NCAA Board of Governors has directed schools and conferences to meet specific requirements if they are to conduct NCAA fall sports during the preseason, regular season and postseason. Further, each division is directed to determine its ability to meet those requirements to conduct fall championships.

OPT OUT

All student-athletes must be allowed to opt out of participation due to concerns about contracting COVID-19. If a college athlete chooses to opt out, that individual’s athletic scholarship commitment must be honored by the college or university.

ELIGIBILITY

Each division must determine no later than Aug. 14 the eligibility accommodations that must be made for student-athletes who opt out of participating this fall or for those whose seasons are canceled or cut short due to COVID-19. College athletes and their families must know what their eligibility status will be before beginning the fall season.

MEDICAL EXPENSES

Member schools may not require student-athlete to waive their legal rights regarding COVID-19 as a condition of athletics participation. Member schools, in conjunction with existing insurance standards, must cover COVID-19 related medical expenses for student-athletes to prevent out-of-pocket expenses for college athletes and their families. 

REPORTING

The NCAA will establish a phone number and email to allow college athletes, parents or others to report alleged failures. The association will notify school and conference administrators, who will be expected to take immediate action.

The divisions must determine by Aug. 21 whether their respective fall sports seasons and NCAA championships should occur this year.

While the NCAA preaches the health and safety of the student-athletes at the forefront of all these decisions, there is still some skepticism about what certain people will do in order to have football in the fall.

For example, Colorado State is currently being investigated after rumors of student-athletes being intimidated and threatened as leaders sought to disregard COVID-19 protocols. 

We are also seeing several top NFL prospects opting out of the 2020 season.

Oregon junior safety Jevon Holland, along with several other Pac-12 players, took a stand this week with the #WeAreUnited movement on social media and a letter in The Players’ Tribune.

[RELATED]: What Jevon Holland, Pac-12 CFB players are demanding or else they'll sit

“We’re not your entertainment, we’re human beings,” Holland told Sports Illustrated. “Just like you would help your family, we want to help our mother, father, grandmother, everyone.

“We don’t know the long term risks. We have no idea how it’s going to affect our body regardless if we show symptoms or not. I refuse to put my health at risk for somebody else’s benefit.”

Oregon State safety Jaydon Grant also jumped on the #WeAreUnited movement too and stated that the Pac-12 is 'rushing football back for money':

At what point are we putting football over human lives? Based on the NCAA's decision, it's in the hands of the schools and conferences but most importantly, the players.

The first look at Marcus Mariota in a Las Vegas Raiders uniform

The first look at Marcus Mariota in a Las Vegas Raiders uniform

Marcus Mariota has gone to the dark side.

The Las Vegas Raiders’ newest quarterback showed off his classic silver and black uniform for the first time and it’s quickly growing on us.

Many fans of MariGOATa took to Twitter to praise the look.  

[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

The former Oregon Duck signed with the Raiders this past offseason to become Derek Carr’s backup quarterback. But Mariota has been so impressive that many have been left wondering if the 2015 second-overall pick could break open the quarterback competition.

He’s earned high praise from his head coach so far.

“I’ve been impressed,” John Gruden told Raiders.com. “The number one thing with Marcus was to get healthy. He had a shoulder problem, an ankle problem, so it’s a real credit to him to get his injury rehab done during all of this social distancing. The distraction of finding a doctor, being safe, and he did a great job of getting himself healthy and learning the system.”

[RELATED: Raiders coach Jon Gruden wants to let Marcus Mariota be Marcus Mariota]

Carr is coming off a quietly stellar season in 2019. He had 4,054 yards passing and a 70.4 completion percentage, becoming just the third quarterback in NFL history to have 4,000 or more passing yards and a 70% or better completion rate in a single season, per NFL Research. 

While Carr knows Mariota is a competitor, that doesn’t mean there’s a quarterback controversy between the two. The 29-year-old feels like he still has a lot to prove.

Me and Marcus get along great. We always have. I’ll tell you one thing; in our quarterback group you have to compete and that’s what I do. Anyone that’s around me, all I’m going to do is compete.

You can go through the list about who’s started games and who’s been in our quarterback room. It happens all the time, but when you go 7-9, people like to make up stuff. --  Carr told reporters on Tuesday

The Raiders heavily incentivized Mariota’s two-year contract which could pay off if the former Ducks star beats out Carr for the starting gig.

The deal, worth $17.6 million with the first year guaranteed, includes incentives such as $2.1 million if he plays more than 60% of the snaps in 2020 plus other performance and playing time-related bonuses that could double the overall value of the contract.

Mariota started four-straight seasons for the Tennessee Titans before being benched in Week 6 in favor of Ryan Tannehill, who led the Titans to the AFC championship game.

For now, the Raiders are Derek Carr’s team. But that won’t stop people from speculating whether or not 2020 is the year Mariota becomes fully rejuvenated in Las Vegas.

[Listen to the full Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Josh Jamieson, Director of Operations of Oregon men’s basketball].

Former Ducks star Sabrina Ionescu to see specialist after suffering ankle injury

Former Ducks star Sabrina Ionescu to see specialist after suffering ankle injury

Sabrina Ionescu is officially leaving the Wubble. 

The Oregon superstar and New York Liberty No.1 pick will head back to the Big Apple to visit a foot and ankle specialist after suffering what was diagnosed as a Grade 3 ankle sprain against the Atlanta Dream on Friday. 

The Liberty confirmed the news Wednesday. 

[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

The injury occurred when Ionescu stepped on Betnijah Laney’s foot while bringing the ball up the court. The 22-year-old fell to the floor and had to be helped to the locker room. She was seen on crutches Sunday. 

[RELATED: Sabrina Ionescu helped off the court after ankle injury, X-rays negative]

By seeing a specialist outside the WNBA Bubble, Ionescu will be able to confirm the severity of the sprain. If it is indeed a Grade 3, the most serious type of ankle sprain, Ionescu’s rookie season is in jeopardy, considering the season is only 22 games long. A Grade 3 sprain can take several weeks to several months to heal. 

The injury certainly throws a wrench in the Ionescu’s ROY contention. After Ionescu shot just 4-of-17 from the field in her WNBA debut, she dropped 33 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists in the Liberty’s 93-80 loss to the Dallas Wings. 

In her first three appearances, Ionescu was averaging 18.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists. 

The Liberty are currently 0-4 and in a rebuilding year with seven rookies on their 12-player roster. New York is not expected to make the postseason and will likely have six weeks remaining of their season.  

If or when Ionescu returns to the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, she’ll have to undergo the required 4-7 day quarantine period, as outlined by the coronavirus health and safety protocols. She’ll also have more rounds of COVID-19 testing to follow upon her arrival.

[Listen to the full Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Josh Jamieson, Director of Operations of Oregon men’s basketball].

Satou Sabally, Ruthy Hebard face off for the first time in the WNBA on Tuesday

Satou Sabally, Ruthy Hebard face off for the first time in the WNBA on Tuesday

For the first time in their professional WNBA careers, Satou Sabally and Ruthy Hebard will face off against one another on Tuesday.

The former Oregon Ducks women’s basketball players were nothing short of stellar throughout their time in Eugene, Oregon. The two, along with No. 1 overall draft pick Sabrina Ionescu, continued to add to the history books the night of the 2020 WNBA Draft. 

Ionescu and Sabally were the first one-two punch in the draft since UConn had the first three players selected in the 2016 WNBA draft (Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson, Morgan Tuck). Hebard was selected No. 8 overall by the Chicago Sky.

[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

As the No. 2 overall pick, the Dallas Wings did not hesitate to take the 6-foot-4 ‘unicorn’ from Oregon. Sabally has already made a case for the 2020 WNBA Rookie of the Year award through just four games in her debut season.

Sabally is currently averaging 14.0 points per game, has recorded a double-double 23 points and 17 rebounds against the Indiana Fever while averaging 29.75 minutes per game.

She’s also getting it done on the defensive end.

The Wings are sitting in 10th in the standings with a 2-2 start to the 2020 season.

The Chicago Sky, however, are currently leading the way sitting in first at 3-1 with a huge win over the reigning WNBA champion Washington Mystics. The Sky’s sole loss was to the Minnesota Lynx, 83-81.

Hebard has unfortunately not seen as much playing time as Duck fans are used to seeing when she was donning green and yellow. Her backup role has been effective though. She recorded two points and six rebounds in her WNBA debut against the Washington Mystics.

Tuesday night will look a tad odd to the Oregon Duck fan. Last week, Sabally and Ionescu’s squads faced off for the first time in their young, professional careers, and now it’s time for Sabally and Hebard to take the court.

Catch the game at 3 PM (PT) on Fox.

[Listen to the full Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Josh Jamieson, Director of Operations of Oregon men’s basketball].

Oregon WBB’s Kelly Graves (virtually) throws out first pitch at Seattle Mariners game

Oregon WBB’s Kelly Graves (virtually) throws out first pitch at Seattle Mariners game

Seriously, is there anything Oregon women’s basketball head coach Kelly Graves can’t do?

The six-year Oregon head coach has starred in a Wendy’s commercial, has the occasional outing on the golf course, has plowed potato fields in Idaho, is highly successful in recruiting, has led his team to the program’s first ever Final Four appearance, and now he throws out the first pitch (virtually, of course) for a Seattle Mariners game.

However, it did look a tad high…

[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

Both Graves and his assistant coach Jodie Berry, have spent time in the state of Washington and thus becoming Mariners fans.

Graves’ coaching career started at Big Bend CC in Moses Lake, Wash., where he accepted an assistant coaching position on the men’s team, but after the women’s coach left, he moved over to lead the women’s program instead.

Before Oregon, Graves hailed from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. His first year with the Bulldogs, the team went 5-23, including 0-14 in WCC play. But by his third year at Gonzaga, the Bulldogs went 18-12 overall and went to the WNIT the following season.

During his tenure with the Bulldogs (2000-2014), Graves brought eight West Coast Conference Coach of the Year awards and a 382-162 (.696) Division I head coaching record to Eugene in 2014, with a 427-202 record overall before joining the Ducks.

The Oregon baseball team just hired Mark Wasikowski to take over the reigns, otherwise the athletic department should have taken a look at Graves with that wicked right arm…

Just kidding, we think he doing a fine job at Matthew Knight Arena.

[Listen to the full Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Josh Jamieson, Director of Operations of Oregon men’s basketball].

Oregon Ducks players praise Mario Cristobal amid #WeAreUnited movement

Oregon Ducks players praise Mario Cristobal amid #WeAreUnited movement

Hundreds of Pac-12 college football players demanded their voices be heard Sunday morning when they released an open letter to their conference via the Player's Tribune titled "#WeAreUnited."

Inside, they made demands including the ability to receive payments, safety during the coronavirus pandemic, and greater racial justice policies. If the conference decides to not comply, then they threatened to sit out the 2020 college football season which the Pac-12 has slated to begin on September 26 during a pandemic.

[RELATED]: What Jevon Holland, Pac-12 CFB players are demanding or else they'll sit

“We’re not your entertainment, we’re human beings,” Oregon safety Jevon Holland, who was one of the twelve original organizers of the protest, told Sports Illustrated“Just like you would help your family, we want to help our mother, father, grandmother, everyone.

“We don’t know the long term risks. We have no idea how it’s going to affect our body regardless if we show symptoms or not. I refuse to put my health at risk for somebody else’s benefit.”

[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

Fellow Ducks such as Penei Sewell, Thomas Graham Jr., Jordon Scott, Cyrus Habibi-Likio, Nick Pickett, Daewood Davis, and more have joined in tweeting out the #WeAreUnited graphics on Twitter.

High up on the list of concerns from the group of players is the Pac-12 conference's desire to play games this fall despite the United States undergoing its worst pandemic since 1918. 

Among the list of demands, the players want insurance selected by the players "for sports-related medical conditions, including COVID- 19 illness" that will last until six years after NCAA eligibility ends, the option to opt-out of the upcoming season without fear of losing athletic eligibility, scholarship, or a roster spot, all COVID-19 agreements that waive liability to be prohibited or voided, and safety standards approved by them that are enforced by a third party to "address COVID-19, as well as serious injury, abuse and death."

However, many Ducks players came out in support of head coach Mario Cristobal, who himself has stressed that safety is the top priority for the Oregon football program since the cancellation of the spring game back in March up to present day.

Holland sent out the initial tweet praising Cristobal and the Oregon coaching/medical staff for keeping its players safe.

Johnny Johnson III and Cyrus Habidi-Likio retweeted Holland's comments and adding additional support for the Ducks head coach and his staff.

Additionally, cornerback Verone Mckinley III echoed his teammates' sentiment.

Holland and Habidi-Likio also thanked Oregon athletic trainer Travis Halseth. 

It's easy to see why. 

In an appearance on Fox's Big Noon Kickoff earlier this week, Ducks head coach Mario Cristobal hinted that the Ducks haven't had a positive test yet for the coronavirus.

"We've been here now a total of seven and a half, coming up on eight weeks and our processes have been flawless. We don't publicly put our results out there but I think the best way to say [it] is that we have been flawless in our processes and our results."

As for those processes in place to keep the student-athletes of Oregon safe, Cristobal said he "can't imagine anyone having anything better out there but we're always researching. We're always digging. We're always looking for information good and bad out there. Anything that can affect us in a positive way. Anything that can help us enhance our processes."

Despite the processes appearing to be working perfectly, Cristobal and his staff are always trying to better it because the safety of his players is the top priority.

"It's as simple as that. Is it safe or is it not? If it is, then okay, let's try this. And if it's it not, then there's no point," said Cristobal.

On Friday, the Pac-12 unveiled a new, ten-game, conference only schedule for each team that will begin on September 26. 

[RELATED]: Oregon Ducks 2020 conference-only college football schedule revealed

Will it get played? We'll see. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent]

What Jevon Holland, Pac-12 CFB players are demanding or else they'll sit

What Jevon Holland, Pac-12 CFB players are demanding or else they'll sit

A large group of Pac-12 football players has made demands to the conference in exchange for playing the 2020 college football season during a pandemic.

In an open letter titled "#WeAreUnited" in the Player's Tribune, the players make many demands including the ability to receive payments, safety during the coronavirus pandemic, and greater racial justice policies. 

"NCAA sports exploit college athletes physically, economically and academically, and also disproportionately harm Black college athletes," said the letter.

[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

“We’re not your entertainment, we’re human beings,” Oregon safety Jevon Holland told Sports Illustrated. “Just like you would help your family, we want to help our mother, father, grandmother, everyone.

“We don’t know the long term risks. We have no idea how it’s going to affect our body regardless if we show symptoms or not. I refuse to put my health at risk for somebody else’s benefit.”

He later tweeted his support of the demands.

As did Oregon cornerback Thomas Graham Jr., defensive tackle Jordon Scott and reigning Outland Trophy winner Penei Sewell.

On Saturday, ESPN's Adam Rittenberg and Mark Schlabach reported hundreds of Pac-12 players had teamed up to make a list of demands to the conference. Schools represented include Oregon, Cal, Stanford, UCLA, and more.

Since the letter's release, players from many schools such as Oregon State's Jaydon Grant have joined in.

Here's what the players are demanding. 

COVID-19 Protections: The group demands the option to opt-out of the upcoming season without fear of losing athletic eligibility, scholarship, or a roster spot. They also want all COVID-19 agreements that waive liability to be prohibited or voided. 

Mandatory Safety Standards, Including COVID-19 Measures: Next, the players seek safety standards approved by them that are enforced by a third party to "address COVID-19, as well as serious injury, abuse and death."

Protect All Sports: They want to see no sports cut. To pay for them, they demand that Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, administrators, and coaches take pay cuts, the schools end performance/academic bonuses, and end lavish facility expenditures and use some endowment funds to preserve all sports.

They specifically call out Stanford, who cut 11 varsity sports, and its $27.7 billion endowment fund. 

End Racial Injustice in College Sports and Society: The athletes want to use the platform of college athletics to benefit Black students. They seek to form a permanent civic-engagement task force comprised of players from each school, experts of their choice, and university/conference administrators to address outstanding issues such as racial injustice in college sports and in society.

Also, they demand that 2% of all conference revenue be funneled to a fund directed by players to "support financial aid for low-income Black students, community initiatives, and development programs for college athletes on each campus."

Last, the players want to form an annual "Pac-12 Black College Athlete Summit with guaranteed representation of at least three athletes of [their] choice from every school."

Guaranteed Medical Expense Coverage: Insurance selected by the players "for sports-related medical conditions, including COVID- 19 illness" that will last until six years after NCAA eligibility ends. 

Name, Image, and Likeness Rights & Representation: The group seeks "the freedom to secure representation, receive basic necessities from any third party, and earn money for use of our name, image, and likeness rights."

Fair Market Pay, Rights, & Freedoms: Players demand that 50% of each sport's total revenue be evenly distributed among the athletes in that sport.

Six-year scholarships that cover undergraduate and graduate degrees.

The elimination of any policies and practices that restrict freedom of speech, the ability to fully participate in charity work, and the freedom to participate in non-athletic activities. 

Each player gets to transfer one time without consequence and then can get additional punishment-free transfers if in cases of abuse or serious negligence.

The ability to go back to school and finish NCAA eligibility if they go undrafted and remains out of a professional league within seven days of the draft.

Due process rights. 

On Friday, the Pac-12 unveiled a new, ten-game, conference only schedule for each team that will begin on September 26. 

Will it get played? We will see. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent]

Oregon Ducks, Pac-12 players threatening to opt out of 2020 CFB season

Oregon Ducks, Pac-12 players threatening to opt out of 2020 CFB season

A group of Pac-12 football players, including players from Oregon, are organizing and threatening to opt out of the 2020 college football season unless the conference meets their demands in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and racial justice movements in the United States, ESPN's Adam Rittenberg and Mark Schlabach report.

Among their demands are "safe play amid the pandemic, fighting racial injustice, securing economic rights and fair compensation, protecting all sports and obtaining long-term health insurance."

The chief concern for the players is reportedly fighting racial injustice. 

Earlier this summer, Ducks safety Jevon Holland lead the charge to rename Deady Hall at the University of Oregon, which was named after Matthew Deady, who was in favor of slavery in Oregon and was quoted saying Black people are just as much property as “horses, cattle and land.”

[RELATED]: Ducks safety Jevon Holland leads charge on renaming Deady Hall at Oregon

The group consists of players from multiple Pac-12 schools such as Cal, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, and more. The group is speculated to be potentially hundreds of players one Pac-12 staff member told ESPN. 

[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

The players also want non-student-athletes to not be brought back to campus and instead take classes online. 

That desire isn't unique to the Pac-12. Ole Miss linebacker MoMo Sanogo asked SEC officials in a conference call this week why students are being brought back and was told that if students don't return then the chances of a college football season are "close to zero."

The SEC officials also told its players that the spread of COVID-19 would occur because of non-student-athletes coming onto campus rather than football games being played. 

[RELATED]: SEC tells players COVID-19 cases 'on every single team' are unpreventable

When Sanogo asked about the SEC creating a bubble he was told that his mask would protect him, that he could be a role model for others, and "to sit at the back of classrooms and not engage in close conversations," the Washington Post reported. 

On Sunday, Pac-12 Football Unity, a conference-wide group of players, issued a "statement of unity" via the The Players Tribune demanding the conference take steps “to protect and benefit both scholarship and walk-on athletes.”

“NCAA sports has truly failed us, it doesn’t enforce any health and safety standards,” the release says. “We believe a football season under these conditions would be reckless and put us at needless risk. We will not play until there is real change that is acceptable to us.”

Prior to the release of the statement, the Pac-12 wrote: "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 Friday, the Pac-12 unveiled a new, ten-game, conference only schedule for each team that will begin on September 26. 

[RELATED]: Oregon Ducks 2020 conference-only college football schedule revealed

In an appearance on Fox's Big Noon Kickoff earlier this week, Ducks head coach Mario Cristobal hinted that the Ducks haven't had a positive test yet for the coronavirus.

"We've been here now a total of seven and a half, coming up on eight weeks and our processes have been flawless. We don't publicly put our results out there but I think the best way to say [it] is that we have been flawless in our processes and our results."

As for those processes in place to keep the student-athletes of Oregon safe, Cristobal said he "can't imagine anyone having anything better out there but we're always researching. We're always digging. We're always looking for information good and bad out there. Anything that can affect us in a positive way. Anything that can help us enhance our processes."

Earlier this summer, Stanford cut 11 varsity sports from its athletic department due to the pandemic. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent]