Oregon Ducks

Oregon Ducks

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.

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“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. 

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