A group representing Big Ten football players said Wednesday the conference's medical protocols fall short in certain areas and should be strengthened.
College Athlete Unity penned a letter titled "#BigTenUnited," using a similar name and the same platform — The Players Tribune — as a group of Pac-12 players did late last week.
Unlike the Pac-12 group, though, College Athlete Unity didn't ask for any major financial revisions or changes to the NCAA model, instead outlining several asks mostly related to the medical risks of playing football during the coronavirus pandemic.
There are no individual names attached to the document and it is unclear if any Nebraska football players were involved in putting the list of requests together.
Some of the requests include:
* An automatic medical redshirt for anybody who misses a game due to a mandatory quarantine.
* An additional third weekly test — the Big Ten announced a twice-weekly mandate for football on Wednesday morning — to be administered on game day or within 24 hours of kickoff.
* "Objective criteria for shutting down seasons should the pandemic take a turn for the worse or if teams experience significant outbreaks."
* Whistleblower protection for anybody that reports a suspected violation.
* Banning the use of liability waivers.
* Coverage of all medical expenses related to COVID-19 both short- and long-term.
The NCAA Board of Governors on Wednesday announced a series of directives that addressed at least some of the concerns. Among them: A phone line will be set up for players, coaches or parents to submit tips on possible violations, liability waivers will not be allowed, medical expenses are to be covered by the schools and players will have scholarships protected in the event they decide to opt out.
Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said Wednesday that he had met with student-athletes from each university digitally in recent days. CAU says, "Given that the NCAA and conference leadership have not asked for our input, we feel compelled to call for clarity, commitment, and action regarding our common-sense proposal."
Interestingly, dozens of Nebraska players took to social media Wednesday afternoon with their own hashtag: "We Want to Play Football."
The exact language varied, but all tracked along with what junior quarterback Adrian Martinez tweeted: "Nebraska has done a great job of doing things the right way and has protected us players. We’ll find a way to play here!"
Said junior defensive tackle Damion Daniels: "Shout out to the University of Nebraska for making sure OUR safety comes first. Let’s get to it !!!"
On and on it went, more than a dozen players total.
Contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.
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