What started as a movement by college football players to find a way this season morphed into what a push for a players association, at least across the Power Five.
Many high-profile players, including Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, Ohio State’s Justin Fields and Oklahoma State’s Chuba Hubbard, tweeted a graphic combining two hashtags that have helped shape college football’s chaotic last week: #WeAreUnited and #WeWantToPlay.
The graphic starts with a hope that teams from the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC and Big 12 find a way to play this season with mandated health and safety protocols to protect players during the coronavirus pandemic. Players could opt out, as many across the country already have, and would keep their eligibility this season, regardless of their choice.
Then it gets really interesting. The graphic wants to “establish open communication & trust between players and officials; ultimately create a college football players association” that would represent the Power Five.
USF defensive back KJ Sails expressed his support for a players association, too.
Sunday night’s social media push comes at a critical juncture —perhaps one of the most important in the history of college athletics. A week ago, players from the Pac-12 were threatening a boycott unless certain health, safety and social issues were addressed.
Since then, momentum has started to build against a college football season because of the pandemic. NCAA fall championships have been canceled in Division II and Division III. In the top division, I-A, UConn and the Mid-American Conference have all pulled the plug on fall football; there’s a lot of informed, reported speculation that the Big Ten and Pac-12 might not be far behind.
With that as the backdrop, players, including Lawrence and many at USF, began tweeting #WeWantToPlay to make their intentions known. By late Sunday and early Monday, that turned into the latest push — one that mentions the possibility of a players association.