A group of conference players and Pac-12 leaders had a "productive" call about the players potentially boycotting the 2020 season, but the Pac-12 made it clear that "they will not engage" in negotiating the players' demand of a 50% share of revenue, per Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated.
Pac-12 leaders pushed back against the players’ demand for each sports’ participants to receive a cut of the conference revenue. Conference officials told #WeAreUnited members that such a move would lead to athletes becoming employees and would impact those athletes who do not participate in revenue-generating sports.
[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].
On Sunday, hundreds of Pac-12 college football players, including Oregon safety Jevon Holland and Oregon State cornerback Jaydon Grant, released an open letter titled "#WeAreUnited" in the Players' Tribune making many demands including the ability to receive payments, preserving safety during the coronavirus pandemic, and greater racial justice policies.
On Wednesday, an email was sent out to the #WeAreUnited group where commissioner Larry Scott proposed a Zoom call at 8 p.m. PT Thursday to discuss the athletes’ list of demands.
The call included Scott, ASU athletic director Ray Anderson, Utah athletic director Mark Harlan and Pac-12 assistant commissioner Chris Merino, and 12 student-athletes.
Sports Illustrated reports that the call was primarily focused on the concerns about COVID-19 from the players with the talk being considered "constructive." There was little talk of the boycott, little talk of the revenue sharing, and no talk of Scott and other conference officials taking a pay cut.
Scott, who took home $5.3 million in 2018 which was good for second among NCAA conference commissioners, agreed to take a 20% salary reduction in April for 2020.
Another key topic discussed was the protocol if a player decides to opt-out of the season. The NCAA has a deadline of next Friday, August 14, but the players want more clarity; will their roster spot/scholarship be saved for a year? Will it count as a redshirt season even if that player has already redshirted? What if only part of the season gets played?
No follow-up meeting has been scheduled but the two sides are expected to follow up next week.
[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent]