The Big 10 conference leadership may not want to play football this year. However, their players, fans, and families, have different ideas.
Justin Fields, the star quarterback for the Ohio State Buckeyes, a team that is in the Big 10 and as of now not playing this year, has begun a petition hoping to reverse his conference’s decision.
“We, the football players of the Big Ten, together with the fans and supporters of college football, request that the Big Ten Conference immediately reinstate the 2020 football season,” the petition reads. “Allow Big Ten players/teams to make their own choice as to whether they wish to play or opt out this fall season. Allow Big Ten players/teams who choose to opt out of playing a fall season to do so without penality [sic] or repercussion.”
As of the time of this writing, the petition has gained over 130,000 signatures.
The petition further states, “We believe that safety protocols have been established and can be maintained to mitigate concerns of exposure to Covid 19. We believe that we should have the right to make decisions about what is best for our health and our future. Don’t let our hard work and sacrifice be in vain. #LetUsPlay!”
The point about safety protocols seems to be proven by the situation involving the Oklahoma Sooners. While Big 10 and Pac-12 commissioners used concerns about players practicing and playing together to justify shutting down their seasons. Oklahoma ‘s situations shows that players were actually far more safe from the virus when they were on campus, and receiving regular testing.
“After announcing 14 positive tests in the initial round of testing when the team returned for July 1 workouts, the Sooners had only one positive player test in the next five weeks, including a four-week span from July 8 to July 29 with zero positives,” ESPN reports. “From July 1 to Aug. 8, the Sooners conducted 700 player tests, resulting in only 15 positives. Out of 186 tests of staff, only two have tested positive. The combined player and staff positivity rate of 1.9% in that five-week span was well below the state of Oklahoma’s, which has been above 6% during the same time span and at one point reached as high as 10%.”
So, contrary to the narrative spun by the media and much of college football’s leadership , the Sooners suffered huge surges in positive virus tests when reporting to football after having been home. Not, as the narrative would suggest, after having practiced and worked out together as a team.
The petition is unlikely to prove successful in getting conference administrators to reverse course. Though, it is instructive in highlighting how the university’s are all too willing to listen to their athletes on social justice issues. Yet, suddenly unwilling to hear them when they buck the coronavirus narrative.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn