Players from the Mountain West have joined those from the Pac-12 and Big Ten in demanding reforms ahead of the 2020 college football season. A group of players called Mountain West United shared a list of "conditions to be agreed upon amongst the conference, coaches, and athletes in order to ensure our health, safety, and well-being" via social media on Thursday night.
The publication of the group's requests came the day after the league announced it will play its usual eight-game slate with schools allowed to play up to two nonconference games. An exact schedule has not been released, but the league's announcement said the earliest play will begin is Sept. 26.
But the Mountain West United campaign asserts there is "too much ambiguity surrounding the state of affairs in this country to demand competition as we know it."
"As the foundation of the entertainment and competition provided by the sport of Gridiron Football, we, the athletes, do not feel safe enough participating in this upcoming season without reform," the group's statement said.
Some of the groups have already been addressed by NCAA guidelines released this week. But here is the full list of requests as made by the Mountain West United group:
Testing, Prevention, and Safety
- Athletes will receive COVID-19 tests every week and at least 72 hours before each match as instructed by the NCAA*
- Staff members, including coaches, trainers, and everyone in contact with athletes, will receive COVID-19 tests every week
- Football facilities will follow strict cleaning protocols with adherence to CDC guidelines
- Contact-tracing protocols with adherence to CDC guidelines*
- Proper accommodations and safety standards for alternative outdoor facilities put in place to adhere with social-distancing guidelines
Eligibility and Scholarship
- Athletes who choose to opt-out of season due to COVID-19 concerns will receive a hardship waiver to grant them an additional year of eligibility, regardless of athlete's timeline on five-year clock*
- Athletes who contract COVID-19 during season, and miss more than 30% of competition, will receive a hardship waiver to grant them an additional year of eligibility, regardless of athlete's timeline on five-year clock
- In even of cancellation of over 50% of scheduled season, all athletes will receive a hardship waiver to grant them an additional year of eligibility, regardless of athlete's timeline on five-year clock
- Preserve scholarship (including tuition and fees, room and board, and cost-of-attendance stipend and roster spot) for any athlete who is granted hardship waiver due to COVID-19*
- Ban and void all COVID-19 liability waivers*
- Ensure coverage of all out-of-pocket medical expenses related to COVID-19 incurred by athletes for five years after exhaustion of eligibility*
- Whistleblower protection for athletes and staff who report suspected violations to COVID-19 safety protocols*
*Denotes that a policy addressing all or some of the request has been established by the NCAA
In response, the Mountain West released its own statement supporting #MWUnited. The conference added it will "develop comprehensive testing and reporting procedures" and that "nearly all of the issues which have been raised are already being addressed." Additional information will be provided by the NCAA Board of Directors on Aug. 14 and Aug. 21.