In light of the P5 putting the squeeze on the NCAA to do its bidding to give it cover for playing a football season, the timing of this is delicious.
A group of Pac-12 football players from multiple schools is threatening to opt out of both preseason camps and games until its negotiations with the league regarding concerns about racial injustice, their safety during the coronavirus pandemic and other demands are completed.
A text message obtained by ESPN says the group’s goal is to “obtain a written contract with the Pac- 12 that legally ensures we are offered the following protections and benefits.”
A contract? I only wish Jim Delany were still around to see it.
They published their terms today. It’s quite the to-do list.
Pac-12 Football Unity Demands
To Protect and Benefit Both Scholarship and Walk-On Athletes
I. Health & Safety Protections
- Allow option not to play during the pandemic without losing athletics eligibility or spot on our team’s roster.
- Prohibit/void COVID-19 agreements that waive liability.
Mandatory Safety Standards, Including COVID-19 Measures
- Player-approved health and safety standards enforced by a third party selected by players to address COVID-19, as well as serious injury, abuse and death.
II. Protect All Sports
Preserve All Existing Sports by Eliminating Excessive Expenditures
- Larry Scott, administrators, and coaches to voluntarily and drastically reduce excessive pay.
- End performance/academic bonuses.
- End lavish facility expenditures and use some endowment funds to preserve all sports.*
*As an example, Stanford University should reinstate all sports discontinued by tapping into their $27.7 billion endowment.
III. End Racial Injustice in College Sports and Society
- Form a permanent civic-engagement task force made up of our leaders, experts of our choice, and university and conference administrators to address outstanding issues such as racial injustice in college sports and in society.
- In partnership with the Pac-12, 2% of conference revenue would be directed by players to support financial aid for low-income Black students, community initiatives, and development programs for college athletes on each campus.
- Form annual Pac-12 Black College Athlete Summit with guaranteed representation of at least three athletes of our choice from every school.
IV. Economic Freedom and Equity
Guaranteed Medical Expense Coverage
- Medical insurance selected by players for sports-related medical conditions, including COVID- 19 illness, to cover six years after college athletics eligibility ends.
Name, Image, and Likeness Rights & Representation
- 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
- Distribute 50% of each sport’s total conference revenue evenly among athletes in their respective sports.
- Six-year athletic scholarships to foster undergraduate and graduate degree completion.
- Elimination of all policies and practices restricting or deterring our freedom of speech, our ability to fully participate in charitable work, and our freedom to participate in campus activities outside of mandatory athletics participation.
- Ability of players of all sports to transfer one time without punishment, and additionally in cases of abuse or serious negligence.
- Ability to complete eligibility after participating in a pro draft if player goes undrafted and foregoes professional participation within seven days of the draft.
- Due process rights.
Especially in a time of pandemic, I doubt that 50% of conference revenue demand will get any traction, but there’s plenty there that college football should have already ponied up for the players.
And asking Larry Scott to “drastically reduce excessive pay” is pure **chef’s kiss**.
The players do have leverage at the moment, because it’s obvious the P5 conferences need football revenue. Their threat is pretty straightforward.
Due to COVID-19 and other serious concerns, we will opt-out of Pac-12 fall camp and game participation unless the following demands are guaranteed in writing by our conference to protect and benefit both scholarship athletes and walk-ons.
They’ve also asked players from other conferences to join their cause. I imagine there are a few bricks being shat this morning by Scott’s and the Pac-12 presidents’ peers.
I have no idea where this goes, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the people running the sport won’t eventually regret negotiating a players’ union on more friendly terms when they were presented with the opportunity at Northwestern. Because that’s the way they roll.
UPDATE: More here.
“The way to affect change and to get your voice heard is to affect the bottom line,” Daltoso said. “Guys realize the moment and are standing together in unity throughout this whole thing. This is bigger than our individual selves. This is for all future college athletes.”
“If you look at history throughout this country, there hasn’t been change without ruffling feathers,” Guidry adds. “Not everybody is going to want change because otherwise it would have happened already. People are going to have strong opinions. You wish you could talk to everybody and have a civil conversation and broaden their perspective. You have to do what you know is the right thing.”