Ohio State linebacker and captain Tuf Borland is among a group of athletes from the university who shared a letter on social media Friday pushing back against the notion that college athletes -- at least those at Ohio State -- are being taken advantage of as the football season approaches in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter, signed by "The Ohio State University Student Athletes" asserts that a letter published earlier this week by a group called #BigTenUnited calling for reforms does not represent the "efforts and actions of Ohio State adequately."
"It has been said that college athletes are being 'exploited' not only in the stated letter but also in the media," read the letter from the Ohio State group. "We recognize that there are risks, but we have all chosen to be here and want the chance to play this fall. We know that there is still a long way to go as plans continue to change everyday. But we have a consistent voice in the discussion.
Several Big Ten football players, including six from Maryland, have opted out of playing in the 2020 season. But so far, no Buckeyes are known to have opted out. In fact, Ohio State stars quarterback Justin Fields and cornerback Shaun Wade have indicated they plan to play in 2020, even though both are likely first-round picks in the 2021 NFL Draft.
In the Friday letter, the group of Ohio State athletes says that, "we stand with the decisions of our athletic department and conference."
"Every day we recognize the privilege of being a student-athlete at The Ohio State University," the letter said. "We have been reassured across many levels that we can opt out of playing this year if we feel unsafe or uncomfortable. We embrace the inherent risks that come with competition at a collegiate level. Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we choose to represent our teams and the Big Ten at practices, during competition and in the community."