Penn State Football Parents Lend Support to a Fall Season

Mark Wogenrich

The Penn State Football Parents Association wants a 2020 football season and believes it can be played safely, according to a letter released Sunday night.

Dianne Freiermuth, the association's president whose son Pat plays tight end for Penn State, said in the letter that she has "full trust in the decisions made by our football coaches and staff." Her letter further said that Penn State's training staff has "led the nation in ensuring the safety of the players, our sons, the coaches and support staff over the last two months."

"The Penn State Football Parents Association supports the standards set by the Big Ten Conference," Dianne Freiermuth's letter said. "Our sons are regularly tested and contact tracing protocols have been developed to ensure player safety as well as parent confidence. A small number of athletes have been quarantined and isolated as an appropriate response to a positive test result. I truly believe that these young men are being cared for both physically and mentally in a manner that could not be replicated in their own homes."

The Parents Association released its letter on an emotional weekend as college football moved toward canceling the fall sports season, according to Sports Illustrated.

Penn State players helped start a social media movement Saturday night, voicing their desire to play under the #IWantToPlay hashtag. By Sunday, college football players nationwide had made the #WeWantToPlay hashtag a rallying point.

On Monday, Penn State coach James Franklin said on Twitter that he is "willing to fight WITH them & for our program!"

Pat Freiermuth told Sports Illustrated's Pat Forde that Penn State's Player Council decided after practice Saturday that it wanted to make a statement about the upcoming season. Players began a coordinated effort to share their voices about Penn State's medical protocols and their comfort level with practicing.

"We still feel positive and we’re eager to play," Pat Freiermuth told SI. "It doesn’t even feel like COVID exists when we’re on the practice field."

Here's the full text of Dianne Freiermuth's letter on behalf of the Penn State Football Parents Association.

Nittany Nation and College Football Community:

In response to the ongoing discussions regarding the Big Ten football and FBS football season, I would like to provide you with a perspective from the Penn State Football Parents Association.

The Penn State University Athletic Department in conjunction with the Football Medical and Training staffs have led the nation in ensuring the safety of the players, our sons, the coaches and support staff over the last two months.

The Penn State Football Parents Association supports the standards set by the Big Ten Conference  Our sons are regularly tested and contact tracing protocols have been developed to ensure player safety as well as parent confidence  A small number of athletes have been quarantined and isolated as an appropriate response to a positive test result.  I truly believe that these young men are being cared for both physically and mentally in a manner that could not be replicated in their own homes.

Parents of Penn State football players have been invited to participate in Zoom meetings with  Head Coach James Franklin, team doctors, trainers, strength and conditioning coaches as well as sports performance staff since March.  Families were made aware of the opt out procedure and at no time were players pressured to participate in an uncomfortable situation.

The players want to play this season.  While risk can never be eliminated Penn State has minimized this risk and the season can be played in a safe manner.  While I respect the viewpoint of others who may feel differently about the upcoming season, I have full trust in the decisions made by our football coaches and staff.

WE ARE!!

Respectfully.

Dianne Freiermuth

President, Penn State Football Parents Association

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