KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — In a weekend full of news, decisions and discussions around the state of college football in 2020, perhaps the most important announcement came not from a phone call between commissioners, but from the fingers of a star quarterback. Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, along with several other college football student-athletes, shared a graphic announcing the combination of the "We Are United" and "We Want To Play" movements in college football. The most noteworthy in a list of demands - "use our voices to establish open communication and trust between players and officials; ultimately create a college football players association."
The demands put forth by players are as follows:
-Playing football this season
-Establishing universal mandated health & 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 (their) voices to establish open communication & trust between players and officials; ultimately create a college football players association
"We Are United" is an organization of student-athletes, originating in the Pac-12, that demands a combination of health, financial and social progress from the NCAA. The group posted a full list of their demands via The Players' Tribune. Student-athletes in the Big Ten followed suit, creating the "Big Ten United" and also listed their set of demands.
On Sunday evening, reports began to surface of officials from the Big Ten meeting to discuss the future of fall athletics, moving toward postponing the season. The Mid-American Conference announced on Saturday it is postponing all scheduled fall contests, with the intention of moving things to the spring semester.
While the MAC is a Group of 5 conference and not a Power 5 conference, it seems to potentially be the first major domino to fall for college athletics this season. As reports of the Big Ten moving toward not only canceling the season, but "engaging other Power 5 conferences on a uniform decision to be announced later this week" increased, student-athletes began taking to social media, voicing their support for the season using the hashtag "We Want to Play."
Clemson running back Darien Rencher explained on Twitter, he and Lawrence worked with representatives from each Power 5 conference to decide upon the demands.
"Pac 12 movement and #BigTenUnited were in collaboration with us. All together -- a step toward one collective voice," Rencher said.
An important note through all of this as well: the players sharing this graphic are stars in the college football world. Lawrence is expected to be the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft when he eventually leaves Clemson. Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields finished third in the Heisman voting last year. Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard was a unanimous All-American. These players have a platform to amplify their voices.