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Big Ten Players Call For Increased Testing, Safety Protocols

Big Ten football players released requests on Wednesday for increased testing and safety protocols ahead of the 2020 season.

The players–in partnership with the organization College Athlete Unity–released their requests in an article in The Players' Tribune. Big Ten athletes noted they are "deeply disappointed with the lack of leadership demonstrated by the NCAA."

"Given that the players are the primary stakeholders in the business of college sports, we believe any course of action moving forward needs to include player input," the Big Ten players wrote on Thursday. "We are deeply disappointed with the lack of leadership demonstrated by the NCAA with respect to player safety during the COVID-19 pandemic."

"We believe that the NCAA must—on its own and through collaboration with the conference—devise a comprehensive plan to ensure the safety and well-being of players leading up to and during the upcoming fall season."

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The Big Ten's "Unity Proposal" features five pillars. The conference's players called for social distancing requirements and temperature requests for anyone entering a team facility, and they also asked or testing twice per week. 

Big Ten players are also asking for player assurances and "hazard-related economic support." They wish to ban COVID-19 liability waivers, and players hope to receive, "coverage for all out-of-pocket medical expenses related to COVID-19."

The Big Ten released its 2020 schedule on Wednesday. The conference is slated to begin its season on Sept. 3, with each school set to play nine conference games.