Ohio State linebacker and team captain Tuf Borland issued a statement in support of the way his school was dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
Borland’s Friday statement, which he said was on behalf of all Ohio State athletes, came in response to the College Athlete Unity group formed earlier in the week that asked for the Big Ten and the NCAA to ensure that certain safety protocols were in place for the 2020 football season.
Many of the things that CAU called for on Wednesday morning are or will be addressed by the Big Ten and the NCAA as they released their medical protocols and requirements the next day. And Borland wanted the public to know that he believed Ohio State athletes were incredibly happy with the way things were being done at OSU.
“First, we appreciate that the Big Ten United letter was intended to protect and voice concerns of Big Ten student-athletes. However, we do not think it represents the efforts and actions of Ohio State adequately. While there are still plenty of questions to be answered and plans to be made in order to compete this fall, we believe that our safety has been at the forefront of our institution’s efforts for return to play models. We feel comfortable and trust that the decisions by [athletic director] Gene Smith [head physician] Dr. Borchers, our coaches and health and safety professionals are made in our best interest.
“It has been said that college athletes are being ‘exploited’ not only in the stated letter but also in the media. 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 every day but we have a consistent voice in the discussion.”
The College Athlete Unity group said in its statement that it was made up of over 1,000 football players across the Big Ten. There are 14 Big Ten schools and each school has 85 scholarship players for a total number of 1,190 scholarship players in the conference. It’s certainly possible that no Ohio State players were a part of the group, but if that was true it would mean that nearly every other player in the conference was.
The use of the word “exploit” or any of its forms was also not used in the group’s proposal or in its letter explaining the proposal. And while the word may be a harsh way of describing how athletes who can’t take a salary or make money off their own likenesses are being asked to potentially play football and other sports in a pandemic, it’s also not an entirely unfair characterization either. Even if the entire athlete contingent at Ohio State is ready and willing to play this fall.
Syracuse players reportedly sit out practice on Thursday
Syracuse’s players reportedly didn’t want to practice on Thursday. And, like the players at Ohio State, they’re happy with the way the school is doing its coronavirus protocols.
According to Syracuse.com, the players boycotted practice because of concerns about how other schools are dealing with the coronavirus.
Just hours before the first session of preseason camp was slated to start at 4:15 p.m., the players elected to sit out and hold a series of team meetings -- some of which included head coach Dino Babers and athletic director John Wildhack, a source told The Post-Standard | Syracuse.com
One source said the players were comfortable with Syracuse’s rules, but they are worried other ACC schools, as well as non-conference opponent Liberty, won’t be as careful.
Much like the Big Ten, the ACC has moved to a primarily conference-only schedule in the fall. While teams in the Big Ten are not playing any conference games in 2020, the ACC is allowing one non-conference game per team. Syracuse’s game is against Liberty, an independent.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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