Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields is leading the way to try and persuade the Big Ten to reverse course on its decision to call off the 2020 college football season.
Fields started a petition which requested the 2020 season immediately be reinstated. As of 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, the petition had more than 63,000 signatures, according to Tom VanHaaren of ESPN.
Fields tweeted a link to the petition on Sunday, writing that “this cause is close to my heart – please sign.”
In addition to reinstating the season, Fields’ petition also requests 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.”
Fields also adds that the players believe the proper safety protocols have been established to maintain mitigation of COVID-19.
The Big Ten was the first Power Five conference to postpone its college football season last week, with the university presidents reportedly voting in favor of the decision, 12-2. The Pac-12 followed the Big Ten while the SEC an ACC remain determined to play as of now.
The Big Ten and Pac-12 tentatively plan to resume football in the spring – should it be safe then.
“The mental and physical health and welfare of our student-athletes has been at the center of every decision we have made regarding the ability to proceed forward,” Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said in a statement. “As time progressed and after hours of discussion with our Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee, it became abundantly clear that there was too much uncertainty regarding potential medical risks to allow our student-athletes to compete this fall."
Warren has not yet responded to inquiries about Field’s petition, per ESPN.
Parents at several other Big Ten schools have also asked the Big Ten to reconsider its position, citing lack of transparency in how they reached their conclusion.
The parents of Nebraska players plan to release their own letter on Sunday expressing similar concerns.
Nebraska had previously suggested in a statement that it would explore its options to continue to play in the fall despite the Big Ten’s decision.