The college football season is reportedly in extreme danger just days after major conferences announced new schedules crafted in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Mid-American Conference canceled its fall sports Saturday, leading to multiple reports the Big Ten and other Power 5 leagues would eventually follow suit.
Yahoo! Sports reported late Sunday night a majority of Big Ten presidents and chancellors favor canceling, but a final decision had not been made at the end of an impromptu meeting that day.
Commissioners of the Power 5 leagues — the Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC, ACC and Big 12 — also met Sunday according to The Associated Press.
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby told The AP no decisions had been made but said concerns about COVID-19 leading to heart inflammation in some of its victims was a growing concern.
Also Sunday a social media movement under the hashtag “WeWantToPlay” gained traction as players shared on Twitter their desires to be able to move forward with the season.
Just after midnight, a group called the National College Players Association shared a graphic declaring, “We all want to play football this season,” along with parameters.
Those include establishing universal health and safety protocols across all conferences and ultimately creating a college football players association.
Although college football players are not legally able to unionize, the NCPA bills itself as “the voice for college athletes in their pursuit of basic protections.”
Its executive director, Ramogi Huma, was involved in a failed effort for Northwestern players to unionize in 2014. More recently, he has been involved in groups of players in the Pac-12 and Big Ten organizing to share demands with their conferences regarding playing during the pandemic, expanded compensation and social justice initiatives.
Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields and Clemson counterpart Trevor Lawrence were among players to share the graphic late Sunday night.
Earlier Sunday, Ohio State football parents released a statement urging schools to let plans for the season proceed.
Michigan defensive back Hunter Reynolds told The AP the We Want To Play movement came about quickly Sunday night after a conference call that included him, Lawrence and Clemson teammate Darien Rencher.
“Just started bouncing ideas off each others’ heads and kind of discussing where we go from here and we ended up coming up with that statement,” said Reynolds, a senior from South Orange, New Jersey.
Big Ten teams began practice last week with the first games set for Labor Day weekend.