A week after players from the PAC-12 stood under the hashtag #WeAreUnited, 1,000 players from the Big Ten used the Players Tribune to express their concerns as #BigTenUnited
In a statement released by The Players’ Tribune, 1,000 Big Ten football players in conjunction with College Athlete Unity have released a letter expressing their demands and concerns about the safety protocols and lack of continuity and communication between the conference and the NCAA.
Their primary issue is the NCAA and conference commissioners have not come up with a comprehensive standard for safety and testing protocols to lower the risk of COVID-19. Not only are they alleging there has been little dialog between the two parties, but the players have not been brought to the table either.
Unlike the treatise by the Pac-12, the letter written by Big Ten football players does not address the racial or financial inequities that currently exist in the NCAA; their focus is player safety amid the pandemic.
Their letter accuses the NCAA of hypocrisy. The letter says the NCAA has “zeal for regulations and enforcement,” but they have not been proactive in attempting to regulate protocols for player safety amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Big Ten football players are united in their fight for equitable and safe treatment
The players are demanding an independent third body chosen by players, the NCAA, and the B1G to handle oversight of COVID testing and safety standards. Their letter also states the need for sufficient penalties for schools that do not follow protocols.
#BigTenUnited is asking for protections for the scholarships of players who decide to opt-out of the season due to concerns about the virus or cannot play 40 percent or more of the season due to cancellation, postponing, or COVID related issues.
The list also includes protecting scholarship if the season is canceled due to the pandemic. They also want medical coverage for either short or long-term medical expenses incurred due to COVID-19.
Though the letter claims to represent the concerns of 1,000 players from the Big Ten, there are no specific names attached to the letter. The group has begun a dialogue with the Big Ten; they are waiting for the NCAA to join the conversation.