Another college football conference has seen its players unite with demands before they enter a season bound to be unlike any other due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This time, it was the Mountain West, with several players releasing the same statement and list of 12 specific demands. While commending steps taken by their coaching staffs, the players emphasized they were not comfortable with playing in a season featuring out-of-state travel and potentially unsafe protocols.
Among the demands are mandatory weekly testing for players and coaches in their programs, strict cleaning protocols for facilities, a ban on liability waivers, whistleblower protections, coverage of out-of-pocket medical expenses caused by COVID-19 and assurances that athletes that athletes who opt out of the season or contract COVID-19 won’t lose a year of eligibility.
Many of those issues are actually covered by some of the policies the NCAA said it would enact for the upcoming season, and the Mountain West essentially said as much in its official reaction to the player demands.
In a statement released Thursday night, the Mountain West said it will align with requirements set by the NCAA, claiming “nearly all of the issues which have been raised are already being addressed.”
Pac-12, Big Ten athletes also uniting
The Mountain West athletes join the Pac-12 and Big Ten in uniting in a pledge to boycott the season if their demands aren’t met. The Pac-12 athletes made waves with the first pledge, which included a demand of 50% of the conference’s revenue be shared with its athletes.
Like the Mountain West, the Big Ten athletes didn’t go that far, but did emphasize safety concerns for the season and requested three COVID-19 tests per week, two more than the NCAA will require.
Mountain West changing football schedule
The Mountain West also became the latest conference to announce how it was altering its schedule to address the COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday.
The conference will keep in place their previously scheduled eight-game conference slates, but will let schools schedule up to two non-conference games. It also acknowledged the possibility of those games having to be rescheduled and identified Dec. 5, 12 or 19 as options for when the Mountain West championship game could be played.
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