The Pac-12 announced the postponement of its fall sports seasons in mid-August, but players haven’t given up the fight quite yet. USC wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown posted a letter on his Twitter account from Trojan football players hoping for California Gov. Gavin Newsom to help the conference kick-start the season.
“The reason we are writing this appeal directly to you is that the state of California and its legislators have been the staunchest advocates for student-athlete rights,” the letter read. “Over the last few months, athletics departments across the country have started listening to the voices of their student-athletes. It is a credit to your leadership that the state of California has been listening to our voices for years, and we are counting on you to hear us now: we want to play.”
Pac-12 players banded together shortly in the #WeAreUnited campaign before the postponement of the season to push for more safeguards in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, an increased push for social justice and more access to revenue generated from college athletics.
“The movement helped us secure some important commitments from the conference, such as guaranteed scholarships for those who choose to opt-out of the season,” the letter read. “We believe the players in the Pac-12 want to play football as soon as possible.”
The USC football players specifically pointed to information from the Pac-12’s Medical Advisory Committee as a reason to re-start the season.
“Daily Antigen testing with a turnaround time of less than one hour reduces COVID-19 infectiousness by 100%,” the letter read. “With the Pac-12’s commitment to daily testing via its new partnership with the Quidel Corporation and the continued dedication to comprehensive health and safety protocols locally on our campus, we feel comfortable proceeding with the season. We are fortunate to receive a level of care from our school that achieves the highest standard in sports, and we should take pride in the Pac-12’s Medical Advisory Committee being the first conference in college athletics to form such a significant partnership.”
USC’s hope is that, by appealing to Newsom himself, it will set off a ripple effect through the other states in the conference.
“As California goes, so too does the Pac-12 Conference,” the letter states. “You can be the champion for the conference of champions and, most importantly, its student-athletes. We believe that if the state of California endorses our season, the conference, other states, respective county and public health officials, and university leaders will follow.”
The Pac-12, Big Ten, Mountain West and MAC all chose to postpone their seasons with the hopes of playing this spring. The status of the Big Ten’s decision remains in limbo as of Tuesday night. Could St. Brown’s letter be the start of something changing in the Pac-12? Time is running out if it wants to start in time to be potentially included in the College Football Playoff.