Big Ten football players call for comprehensive coronavirus safety plan


By Nathan Baird - Advance Ohio Media



Players’ demands

Demands made by Big Ten football players in a Players Tribune essay include:

• Third-party assessment of COVID-19 testing and enforcement of health and safety standards. (The Big Ten announced a third party would handle testing.) The group also called for “sufficient penalties” for not complying with those standards and a mandate for staff members to report possible violations.

• Three weekly tests of anyone who comes into contact with college athletes.

• Twice-weekly testing for players. Game-day testing, or testing with 24 hours of competition for teams that can be quarantined, with results delivered at least two hours before game time.

• Whistleblower protections for athletes and team personnel when reporting suspected violations.

• A ban on the use of COVID-19 liability waivers.

• Automatic medical redshirt status for players who miss competition due to a positive test or a mandatory quarantine.

• Complimentary Big Ten Network access for players’ families.

• Coverage for out-of-pocket medical expenses related to COVID-19 and an adjustment to cost of living stipends due to limited access to facilities.

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.

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By Nathan Baird

Advance Ohio Media

Players’ demands

Demands made by Big Ten football players in a Players Tribune essay include:

• Third-party assessment of COVID-19 testing and enforcement of health and safety standards. (The Big Ten announced a third party would handle testing.) The group also called for “sufficient penalties” for not complying with those standards and a mandate for staff members to report possible violations.

• Three weekly tests of anyone who comes into contact with college athletes.

• Twice-weekly testing for players. Game-day testing, or testing with 24 hours of competition for teams that can be quarantined, with results delivered at least two hours before game time.

• Whistleblower protections for athletes and team personnel when reporting suspected violations.

• A ban on the use of COVID-19 liability waivers.

• Automatic medical redshirt status for players who miss competition due to a positive test or a mandatory quarantine.

• Complimentary Big Ten Network access for players’ families.

• Coverage for out-of-pocket medical expenses related to COVID-19 and an adjustment to cost of living stipends due to limited access to facilities.

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