COLUMBUS — Following the lead of athletes in the Pac-12 Conference, a group of over 1,000 Big Ten football players called for stricter medical guidelines and financial protections in an essay in The Players Tribune on Thursday.
No individual player names were attached to the essay, entitled #BigTenUnited. Big Ten rosters include 85 scholarship players and additional walk-ons. Big Ten United’s stated presence of over 1,000 players would on average mean more than 71 players per program.
Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields said Tuesday that he and other Big Ten players had taken notice of the We Are United movement in the Pac-12 and the associated list of demands. He said Big Ten athletes had spoken informally, but stopped short of saying any proposal was imminent.
“I’m glad to see different athletes around the country try to come together and have a voice for college athletes,” Fields said. “A few of the guys have talked about getting our own thing together in the Big Ten, so we can have a conversation like they’re doing. I definitely agree with what they’re doing.”
The Big Ten United list of demands were not as intense as those released by the Pac-12 athletes last week. Some of them relating to COVID-19 testing and protocols were already covered in the guidelines released Thursday morning by the Big Ten.