You may have missed it, but something absolutely massive happened on the west coast yesterday.
A group of players at schools in the PAC-12 conference released a list of demands that the conference would need to meet in order for the players to play.
This is the first of its kind in college sports and could spell something seismic in the sport.
You can read what the players wrote here.
Why Does This Matter?
I highly recommend reading what the players wrote. This could be one of the largest developments in not only college sports history, but in recent sports history.
This letter could change college football, and college sports in general, forever .
Right off the top, the idea of the NCAA’s amateurism is challenged. This is the very foundation of the college structure as we know it.
Because NCAA sports exploit college athletes physically, economically and academically, and also disproportionately harm Black college athletes, #WeAreUnited.
The second sentence in, and they’re already throwing heat. A direct challenge to the NCAA organization, calling out the hypocrisy of the billion dollar industry.
Like I said, this is worth a read.
Highlights, Por Favor.
First of all, that second sentence is a great one.
Originally, this was meant to be about COVID.
“When we first got started, our only thought was coronavirus.” “We started talking to some of our teammates, and they said, ‘What about the Black Lives Matter issue? We don’t want to detract from their issue.’ The more we started talking with them, it became clear the two were the same issues.” – Jake Curhan, Cal
But it quickly became something bigger and better. It is worth noting that the players did, in fact, demand more explanations of and more stringent adherence to, COVID 19 protocols from the PAC-12.
Black Lives Matter was brought up – which is in the quote sited, but the black experience of the NCAA was brought up later in the document, as well.
Compensation is brought up towards the end (again) – as in “we” deserve compensation for the work they put into their sports.
Finally, the language at the end of this opening section to the letter, before the actual list of demands, mentions that the players will opt out unless the conditions are met.
Summary of Demands
In short, there are 4 demands.
1 Health and Safety protections – eligibility won’t be lost due to opting out. Player approved safety protocols will be enacted for all sports.
2 Protect All Sports – This is called out specifically in the second demand. All “excessive expenditures” should be cut in order to save all sports. That is, coaches and administrators getting paid exorbitant amounts of money, bonus handed out for performance or academic reasons, and large expenditures for facilities.
3 End Racial Injustice in College Sports and Society – set up a task force to dive into societal issues, 2% of all conference revenue would go to support low income “black students, communities initiatives, and development programs for college athletes on each campus,” and the formation of an annual PAC-12 Black College Athlete Summit.
4 Economic Freedom and Equity – Guaranteed Medical Expense converge for athletes, the right to earn money from their own likenesses, and (essentially) player rights to transfer/not lose eligibility/50% revenue split/longer scholarships among some other things.
What Happens from Here?
Well, we have already seen issues arise regarding this document. But this should be taken very seriously by the conference.
I would expect some sort of compromise that leaves everyone feeling worse.
This is the NCAA, after all.
But this is progress!
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-Brent Buckley (@bigbucksbuckley on twitter)