Hundreds of thousands of college football fans have signed a petition to restart the Big Ten fall football season.
Ohio State University quarterback Justin Fields launched the petition on Sunday, ratcheting up public pressure on the conference to reverse its Tuesday decision to cancel the fall 2020 season. Less than a day after it was posted, Fields’ petition has garnered over 224,000 signatures, well on its way to its goal of 300,000 signatures.
The petition says:
We, the football players of the Big Ten, together with the fans and supporters of college football, request that the Big Ten Conference immediately reinstate the 2020 football season. Allow Big Ten players/teams to make their own choice as to whether they wish to play or opt out this fall season. Allow Big Ten players/teams who choose to opt out of playing a fall season to do so without penalty or repercussion.
Why is this important?
We want to play. We believe that safety protocols have been established and can be maintained to mitigate concerns of exposure to Covid 19. We believe that we should have the right to make decisions about what is best for our health and our future. Don’t let our hard work and sacrifice be in vain. #LetUsPlay!
This cause is close to my heart – please sign: https://t.co/yFKlYE7pP0
— Justin Fields (@justnfields) August 16, 2020
The Big Ten’s decision to cancel its fall football season and try again in the spring has brought surging backlash on the conference from players, coaches, fans, and even health experts who say the data the Big Ten used to justify its decision is seriously flawed.
University of Michigan cardiologist Dr. Venk Murthy pointed out Friday that a Journal of the American Medical Association study extensively cited by the Big Ten has “rampant abnormalities among normal controls” and “many statistic[s] (sic) that make no sense.”
The Big 10 report on COVID relies heavily on this paper which found rampant abnormalities among normal controls and had many statistic that make no sense.
Time to retract or correct this paper. https://t.co/JY86C3zBBQ
— Venk Murthy (@venkmurthy) August 14, 2020
“I’m not a football guy so whether they put off a year doesn’t really affect me, but the Big 10 is a majorly respected organization and many Americans get their news from @espn,” Murthy continued. “Unfortunately much of the messaging centers around a flawed paper.”
“Papers like this should not be used for policy decision. At least until they are fixed/corrected,” Muthy said.
The parents of football players at the University of Nebraska, University of Iowa, Penn State, and Ohio State have all written letters to the athletic department of each school requesting more information on why the Big 10 board of directors voted to cancel the season.
“We, as parents of Nebraska Cornhusker football players, are writing this letter to express our displeasure in the recent decision to postpone the 2020 fall sports season,” one letter said. “Although we appreciate the committee’s efforts in this matter, we have questions concerning the facts and data behind this decision. Second, we would like to voice our concerns for our sons’ mental and physical well being in regards to this decision. Finally, we would like to urge you to seek out a formal plan that includes input from players and coaches from each institution regarding decisions of this nature.”
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