College football Stars Press an urgent Case – 'We wish to Play'

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College administrators are mulling whether there will be a football season this fall. Some of the sport’s biggest names say there should be.

About College
A college (Latin: collegium) is an educational institution or a constituent part of one. A college may be a degree-awarding tertiary educational institution, a part of a collegiate or federal university, an institution offering vocational education, or a secondary school.
In the United States, “college” may refer to a constituent part of a university or to a degree-awarding tertiary educational institution, but generally “college” and “university” are used interchangeably, whereas in the United Kingdom, Oceania, South Asia, Southern Africa, most of Europe and Africa, and Canada, “college” may refer to a high school or secondary school, a college of further education, a training institution that awards trade qualifications, a higher-education provider that does not have university status (often without its own degree-awarding powers), or a constituent part of a university (see this comparison of British and American English educational terminology for further information).

College Football Stars Press an Urgent Case: 'We Want to Play'

About Football
Football is a family of team sports that involve, to varying degrees, kicking a ball to score a goal. Unqualified, the word football normally means the form of football that is the most popular where the word is used. Sports commonly called football include association football (known as soccer in some countries); gridiron football (specifically American football or Canadian football); Australian rules football; rugby football (either rugby union or rugby league); and Gaelic football. These various forms of football share to varying extent common origins and are known as football codes.
There are a number of references to traditional, ancient, or prehistoric ball games played in many different parts of the world. Contemporary codes of football can be traced back to the codification of these games at English public schools during the 19th century. The expansion of the British Empire allowed these rules of football to spread to areas of British influence outside the directly controlled Empire. By the end of the 19th century, distinct regional codes were already developing: Gaelic football, for example, deliberately incorporated the rules of local traditional football games in order to maintain their heritage. In 1888, The Football League was founded in England, becoming the first of many professional football competitions. During the 20th century, several of the various kinds of football grew to become some of the most popular team sports in the world.

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence pressed for college sports leaders to stage a football season, saying a season would help players keep safe from the coronavirus.
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence pressed for college sports leaders to stage a football season, saying a season would help players keep safe from the coronavirus.Credit…David J. Phillip/Associated Press

Alan Blinder

  • Aug. 10, 2020Updated 12:19 p.m. ET

Emboldened by the imperiling of the college football season and a summer of social activism, some of the sport’s biggest stars pressured administrators on Monday to allow the games to go on under the right circumstances — and raised the prospect of more formally organizing in the future, a disputed approach in the past.

College Football Stars Press an Urgent Case: 'We Want to Play'

In messages on Twitter, the players, including Justin Fields of Ohio State, Najee Harris of Alabama and Trevor Lawrence of Clemson, pointedly declared: “We want to play football this season.” They urged college football to adopt universal health guidelines; said that players should be allowed to opt out, as some already have; and declared that they wanted to use their “voices to establish open communication and trust between players and officials.”

The sweeping display amounted to a merger of movements within college sports — some players had warned that they would not take the field this fall unless schools took greater steps to ensure their safety — and it opened another front in the protracted debate over the rights of unpaid student-athletes, an issue that has come under scrutiny on Capitol Hill and in America’s statehouses in recent months.

Lawrence, a quarterback who played in last season’s national championship game and whose season is scheduled to begin on Sept. 12, at Wake Forest, spent much of the weekend laying the groundwork for a campaign to play in spite of the pandemic.

“We are more likely to get the virus in everyday life than playing football,” Lawrence said in a series of posts on Twitter. “Having a season also incentivizes players being safe and taking all of the right precautions to try to avoid contracting covid because the season/ teammates safety is on the line. Without the season, as we’ve seen already, people will not social distance or wear masks and take the proper precautions.”

Some health experts and sports executives are deeply skeptical of those arguments, and some players have been, too. Last week, Connecticut, an independent in football, canceled its season, and its players said in a statement that they had “many health concerns and not enough is known about the potential long-term effects of contracting Covid-19.”

“We love this game and love competing,” they added. “We came to campus in the beginning of July knowing there would be challenges presented by the pandemic but it is apparent to us now that these challenges are impossible to overcome.”

The Coronavirus Outbreak

Sports and the Virus

Updated Aug. 10, 2020

Here’s what’s happening as the world of sports slowly comes back to life:

    • N.B.A. teams were assigned to their Disney World hotels based on the standings. That has left the weaker teams inside the less desirable Yacht Club Resort feeling hotel envy as they battle for a playoff place.
    • The pandemic has left young female golfers, who have fewer playing options than men, scrambling to find tournaments.
    • At the University of Connecticut, the decision to cancel football came after players said, “Coach, there’s no way that we can play a season.”

Although UConn officials said they responded to the misgivings of their players, it was not clear how college sports leaders would respond to the new public pressure to stage a season, similar to the social campaigns mounted by players in Major League Baseball and the National Football League as their unions negotiated with team owners.

The most powerful conferences in college sports — the Atlantic Coast, the Big Ten, the Big 12, the Pac-12 and the Southeastern — have all announced revised plans to play, but cautioned that they could still cancel the season because of the pandemic.

The A.C.C. moved to an 11-game schedule, allowing for one out-of-conference game for each team and including Notre Dame, an independent in football, among its ranks, while the Big Ten, the Pac-12 and the SEC elected to try for 10-game, conference-only seasons. The Big 12 opted for a schedule of nine conference games for each team, plus a nonconference matchup. Some of the conferences also delayed the start dates of their seasons and pushed back their plans for league championship games.

The Big Ten is scheduled to be the first league to open conference play, with a game between Ohio State and Illinois planned for Sept. 3. But the league said on Saturday that its teams would not proceed to practice with pads, and it acknowledged “many questions regarding how this impacts schedules, as well as the feasibility of proceeding forward with the season at all.”