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Wisconsin football: college football players lay ground work for more representation

The #WeAreUnited and #WeWantToPlay movements among college football players have united into one voice calling for change.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 21 Maryland at Wisconsin Photo by Dan Sanger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

As it appeared the college football season was on the brink of cancellation Sunday evening, many current college football players started using the hashtag #WeWantToPlay. Players, fans and media members took up the cause in hopes of saving college football this fall. Then, in a shocking turn of events, many, many players from all over the country started tweeting out this graphic

The statement, which was released at midnight ET, lays out a number of demands that players need in order to feel safe playing football this season as well as setting up protections for the players moving forward. They are as follows:

  • We all want to play football this season.
  • Establish universal mandated health and safety procedures and protocols to protect college athletes against COVID-19 among all conferences throughout the NCAA.
  • Give players the opportunity to opt out and respect their decision.
  • Guarantee eligibility whether a player chooses to play the season or not.
  • Use our voices to establish open communication and trust between players and officials; ultimately create a college football players association.
  • Representative of the players of all Power 5 conferences.

According to an article from ESPN, some of the biggest college football stars in the country were on a Zoom call Sunday night to hash out the group’s feelings and thoughts. The call included: Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence, Alabama RB Najee Harris, Ohio State QB Justin Fields, Oklahoma State RB Chuba Hubbard, Oregon OT Penei Sewell and DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Michigan’s Hunter Reynolds, Utah’s Nick Ford and organizers Stanford DL Dylan Boles and Clemson RB Darien Rencher.

Boles is one of the leaders of the Pac-12 #WeAreUnited movement, which threatened to have players sit out practices and games if their concerns were not listened to and has also gained traction in the B1G, and, according to the ESPN report, Rencher wanted to combine the two hashtags so that people stopped misconstruing them as separate movements.

Boles also noted that:

The players spoke for a little more than 30 minutes before deciding to issue a concise message to share the main takeaways from their conversation. He said they unanimously agreed on the topics mentioned in the statement. He also noted that there was quick and universal support for pushing to create a players association that would give all college athletes — not just football players — a voice in the decision-making process in the future.

Many Wisconsin Badgers football players tweeted out the #WeWantToPlay hashtag on Sunday night and TE Gabe Lloyd joined the wave of players tweeting out the graphic with what the players are asking for.

This is a big and important step that the players have taken and it will be fascinating how it plays out. The NCAA, college presidents and all of the conference commissioners have, for decades, propped up the “amateurism model” in college sports in order to keep the players from making money and being considered employees and the players have finally had enough.

This post will be updated as more information becomes available.