The Pac-12 could have a much larger issue on its hands than the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as it prepares to ramp up for the college football season, with preseason camps starting as early as Aug. 17.
A group of Pac-12 football players, including Washington State’s Dallas Hobbs, a defensive tackle who’s expected to be a captain for the Cougars under first-year coach Nick Rolovich, have threatened to boycott preseason camp and fall competition unless the Pac-12 is willing to comply and meet a list of specific demands that were laid out in a press release Sunday morning.
The player group’s “unity demands,” which are also cited in a story by The Players’ Tribune, include health and safety precautions related to the coronavirus outbreak, the preservation of all existing sports by eliminating excessive expenditures – one of those being the salary of commissioner Larry Scott – ending racial injustice in college sports and society and economic freedom and equity for players.
In a separate press release, 12 football players from nine Pac-12 schools are listed as media contacts, including Hobbs.
Other key WSU players, including defensive tackle Lamonte McDougle, defensive back Patrick Nunn and wide receiver Kassidy Woods, have tweeted graphics in support of the boycott.
Underneath a subcategory of “health and safety protections,” the players have made the following demands.
1. Allow option not to play during the pandemic without losing athletics eligibility or spot on our team’s roster.
2. Prohibit/void COVID-19 agreements that waive liability.
Underneath another subcategory, “Mandatory safety standards, including COVID-19 measures,” is the following request.
1. 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.
The next section demands the protection of all sports, citing the following requests.
1. Larry Scott, administrators, and coaches to voluntarily and drastically reduce excessive pay.
2. End performance/academic bonuses.
3. 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.)
The next section of the list cites players’ demands regarding racial injustice and providing financial support for low-income, black college students.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Form annual Pac-12 Black College Athlete Summit with guaranteed representation of at least three athletes of our choice from every school.
The final category pertains to economic freedom and equity and the student-athlete compensation battle that’s been a hot-button topic in college sports for years.
Under the sub-category, “Guaranteed medical expense coverage,” players listed the following demands.
1. Medical insurance selected by players for sports-related medical conditions, including COVID- 19 illness, to cover six years after college athletics eligibility ends.
Another sub-category is titled, “Name, image, and likeness rights & representation.”
1. The freedom to secure representation, receive basic necessities from any third party, and earn money for use of our name, image, and likeness rights.
The final sub-category, “Fair market pay, rights & freedoms” requests fair pay among athletes and broaches the idea of six-year scholarships.
1. Distribute 50% of each sport’s total conference revenue evenly among athletes in their respective sports.
2. Six-year athletic scholarships to foster undergraduate and graduate degree completion.
3. 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.
4. Ability of players of all sports to transfer one time without punishment, and additionally in cases of abuse or serious negligence.
5. Ability to complete eligibility after participating in a pro draft if player goes undrafted and foregoes professional participation within seven days of the draft.
6. Due process rights
This story will be updated.