Some of college football’s most prominent players and voices dropped a bomb around the Midnight hour on Monday.
After news got around that college football conferences were looking to cancel the season, Clemson Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence took the floor to push back. With regards to Lawrence at the start, you can say what you will about his concerns. The young man was well-meaning and good-intentioned. The athletes are always going to want to play, it’s just in their nature and fiber. And you shouldn’t deny the fact that the players have every right to sit at the table, be part of the discussion and have their voices heard.
Hours passed and many of sports’ biggest prognosticators — you know the ones, we’re not sharing them or their tweets, by now, you know who we mean — sided with the players. Which was admittedly very ironic, considering that plenty of them and plenty of other people have frequently elected not to listen to players’ wants and needs before. Then Lawrence, along with fellow Clemson player Darien Rencher, as well as Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields and Alabama Crimson Tide running back Najee Harris among many others, brought forth a list of demands.
#WeWantToPlay pic.twitter.com/jvQhE7noGB— Trevor Lawrence (@Trevorlawrencee) August 10, 2020
@Trevorlawrencee & I got together with representatives from every Power 5 conference via Zoom Call and this is what we decided upon— (@D_Rench_) August 10, 2020
Pac 12 movement and #BigTenUnited were in collaboration with us. All together — a step toward one collective voice
#WeWantToPlay pic.twitter.com/6kTPmMTR8s— Najee Harris (@ohthatsNajee22) August 10, 2020
A few things shouldn’t go unnoticed here. Firstly, it’s obviously incredible to watch the players realize who’s in control here. As university presidents and athletic directors scramble on their heels, realizing how deep the doo-doo they’re currently standing in is, the players, for months now, have been organizing. They have been seeing everything happen in real time. The facade is withering away with each passing moment and they are cognizant of that and pushing back. The players know how much power they have, and a whole lot of them are weaponizing that power for the greater good.
None of the demands are unreasonable, either. Protocols should be established and clung on to. Players ought to have the right to opt out without fear of being excoriated or even dropped from the team, among other things, so eligibility ought to be assured.
And it absolutely cannot be understated how big the phrase, “Ultimately create a College Football Players’ Association” is. For a litany of reasons.
The conferences and the NCAA are likely about to look even more foolish at this point. Many of them went through the grand act of setting up restart dates and crafting and pushing out full schedules, among other things. Somehow, though, now is apparently the time to cancel the season. Nothing has changed about the current state of affairs, except maybe for the worst since COVID-19 hasn’t gone away and won’t be anytime soon. And everyone could’ve seen this coming. Well, these universities and conferences apparently did not, or so we can gather. And now that the players are out in droves, with respectable demands, with roughly four weeks to go until the season is supposed to start?
This is all about to hit the fan. And it all may burn down in the process. Buckle up, pals. We may not have even hit the tip of the iceberg yet.