NCAA

Mike Locksley proud of his players' response to Black Lives Matter protests

Mike Locksley proud of his players' response to Black Lives Matter protests

In response to vast numbers of people protesting police brutality and racial injustice throughout the country over the last week, Maryland football coach Mike Locksley decided to have a team meeting. 

Locksley's goal was to communicate with his players, hear their concerns and educate the team as best he could.

"I thought it was really important to create a dialogue," Locksley said on The Sports Junkies Wednesday. "I coach a microcosm of our society. We have all types of races, religions and socio-economic groups on our football team and the last thing you want is the things that are happening out in the real world to creep into something I feel like we've made some gains in building a cohesive team."

Throughout the meeting, Locksley couldn't stress enough how important respect was to the equation. 

"There are no clear-cut answers to it, that's the hard part," he said. "[I'll] by no means try to quiet their voices or stop them. Just go out there and express their feelings, but I also wanted them to educate themselves on what they were saying and what they were feeling and not make emotional decisions, but really think things through.

"I also wanted them to remember that the underlying word that comes to mind with all of these tragedies and all of these things that continue to happen is respect," he said. "If you have respect for someone, those types of [emotional] decisions are hard to make."

Maryland football released a united statement from the players Tuesday, stating their desire to become, "difference makers" and "leaders in creating change" in their community. Not only did the statement condemn racial injustice and the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and Freddie Gray, but it provided solutions to bring about change.

"There's one thing to put a statement out and it's another thing to have solutions," he said. "They wanted to educate themselves on the voting process. Far too many 18-22 year-olds in college don't take advantage of the ability we have to vote. They wanted to go out and become more involved in underserved communities with voter registration as well as getting people who can't get to the polls transportation to get them there."

Every player signed the statement, and most of the solutions were focused on voting. Locksley explained his players believe that is the best avenue for change.

"I thought it was a tremendous answer as a team and for 18-22 year-olds to think that deeply, I was really proud of them coming up with just not the statement piece but what they wanted to do or could do to try and make a difference down the road."

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Report: Big 12 planning to play football this fall

Report: Big 12 planning to play football this fall

Despite growing momentum to cancel the fall football season, the Big 12 reportedly is moving forward with their plans to play.

ESPN reporter Sam Khan Jr. reported on Wednesday morning that the Big 12's board of directors met for over an hour yesterday to discuss the fallout of decisions made to postpone the fall season from conferences like the Big Ten and Pac-12. 

Following days of speculation the Big Ten would cancel fall sports, the conference officially pulled the plug Tuesday citing concerns of the myriad of complications that come along with playing a season during a pandemic. 

The Big 12, however, is leading the charge in trying to set up safe way to play the fall season. ESPN reported there will be revised conference-only schedules coming out shortly after the season was again pushed back to Sept. 26. Stadium reported the Big 12 may have more news. 

The decision also comes on the back of growing support from athletes to find a solution in making sure this season gets played. The face of college football, Trevor Lawrence, has repeatedly tweeted his stance that going forward with a season will actually be safer for the athletes

Whether or not more Power 5 sides like the SEC and ACC follow suit remains to be seen, but it is widely speculated that these football-crazed conferences are determined to find a way. 

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Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren says there was 'too much uncertainty' to have a fall season

Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren says there was 'too much uncertainty' to have a fall season

Less than a week ago, the Big Ten Conference released a 2020 conference-only football schedule. Though there were no guarantees it would be played amid the coronavirus pandemic, it seemed like a positive step for college athletics.

Fast forward to Tuesday, and the Big Ten announced that the fall sports season would be no more. What caused the quick departure? According to commissioner Kevin Warren, it wasn't additional facts about COVID-19 and its impact, but rather the lack of them.

“There’s too much uncertainty," Warren said on Tuesday during an interview on the Big Ten Network. "We have a lot of uncertainty going on now.”

The coronavirus has been in the United States for several months now, but much is still unknown about its effects on the human body and society. While the Big Ten had been working diligently to provide its players and staff with testing and up-to-date protocols, not every possible outcome could be covered.

As Warren explained it, for each question that is answered in relation to COVID-19, a new one pops up. As the pandemic continues on, professionals continue to learn more about how it acts and what impact it can have both short and long term.

An example of that would be Myocarditis –– or the inflammation of the heart muscle -- which has been found in several college athletes and linked to the coronavirus. Not initially considered to be a factor of the virus, it's now become a major concern for the Big Ten and other conferences.

That's just one aspect of the unknown Warren and others are dealing with. Taking a step back and looking at the whole picture, Warren also noted that the COVID-19 questions go beyond the field. It's a problem the entire world is dealing with.

“It’s not only in the Big Ten. I think just across the country and in the world there is so much uncertainty about this virus," Warren said.

In the end, while Warren feels the conference has done a solid job of protecting players during workouts in the summer, there was still too much to be learned before he and others could feel comfortable resuming collegiate sports.

Now, with hopes to resume in the spring, Warren and other Big Ten officials will head out in search of the answers that will eliminate the unknown of the virus. Just like how society strives to return to normal, continuing to learn will be the only way to make it possible.

“We’ll gather information, prepare, plan and create an environment that our students-athletes will be able to participate in when it’s safe and there’s less uncertainty," Warren said. 

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