One of the Big Ten’s biggest stars is trying to resuscitate its 2020 football season.
Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, a projected Top 10 pick in the 2021 NFL draft, created a petition to immediately reinstate the Big Ten fall season, less than a week after the conference announced it had canceled play because of COVID-19 concerns.
As of Sunday afternoon, the campaign had garnered more than 35,000 signatures.
“This cause is close to my heart – please sign,” Field tweeted with a link to the petition.
The Big Ten is looking into the potential of a spring football season, though it’s not clear if Fields and other top prospects would play in it.
“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,” the campaign page reads. “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.”
The petition said players believe safety protocols have been established that can “mitigate concerns of exposure to COVID-19.”
Ohio State coach Ryan Day and others had tried to save the season with public pleas earlier this week, to no avail. The Buckeyes were ranked No. 2 in the preseason coaches poll, but barring a huge reversal, they won’t get the chance to play for a title this fall.
Fields’ petition comes the morning after the NCAA’s chief medical officer said games should not be played because of the pandemic.
“Right now, if testing in the US stays the way it is, there’s no way we can go forward with sports,” Brian Hainline said on CNN. “We’re not in a place today where we can safely play sports.”
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