Pac-12 Players Meet With Governor's Office to Discuss Health Protection

Caifornia Governor Gavin Newsom

Jake Curtis

A number of Pac-12 football players representing the #WeAreUnited movement met with officials in California Governor Gavin Newsom's office on Tuesday to disuss health concerns, Associated Press reported on Wednesday.

The Pac-12 players would like the governor to grant an executive order that would require player-approved, third-party oversight of COVID-19 rules at the Pac-12′s four California schools -- Cal, Stanford, USC and UCLA. They also would like that order to ensure that players would not lose a season of eligibility if they decide to opt out of the 2020 season because of COVID-19 concerns. (The Pac-12 said athletes who opt out will retain their scholarships for this season, but the question of another year of eligibility has not been addressed.)

“We really want to be able to move a little faster in getting heath guidelines out there for us,” Cal offensive lineman Valentino Daltoso told AP. “The eligibility piece is huge for us. If you were to opt out without eligibility guarantees you could be effectively ending your eligibility. The governor’s office can help us with that.”

AP requested comment from the California governor’s office but has not yet received a response.

The Pac-12 players listed their demands on a variety of issues, including health concerns and racial injustice, over the weekend. The players said they would opt-out of games this season if their demands were not sufficiently addressed.

The Pac-12 players were told earlier this week that conference officials would meet with members of the players group sometime this week. The players want the meetings to take place sooner, and they asked the governor's office to expedite the process, according to the AP report.

In the Pac-12, football practice is scheduled to start as early as Aug. 17, with the season slated to begin Sept. 26. However, it seems unlikely that Cal will start preseason camp on Aug. 17.  The Pac-12 stated that mandatory workouts could have begun on Monday, Aug. 3, but the Golden Bears were unable to begin that phase this week based on protocols set by local and state health officials.

Meanwhile, the Pac-12 is planning on a huge coronavirus loan program that could save the athletic departments of Pac-12 schools if the 2020 football season is canceled, according to the San Jose Mercury News. According to the report, the loan would provide a maximum of $83 million for each Pac-12 school at an interest rate of 3.75 percent over 10 years.

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