Though there are players at other schools threatening to boycott the 2020 football season unless certain demands are made, at Clemson the players are glad to be back on the practice fields and preparing for a football season.
Last Sunday, more than 400 student-athletes from the Pac-12 sent a list of demands to the conference to be fixed or they will sit out the 2020-’21 academic year. Those demands ranged from better COVID-19 protocols, issues on the racial injustice front and players sharing revenue.
Some Big Ten athletes also sent a list of demands to the conference, but theirs were focused primarily on safety concerns with the pandemic and racial injustice issues.
Following Friday’s practice, the second of fall camp for the Tigers, quarterback Trevor Lawrence confirmed he and others on the team have had conversations about the demands from the Pac-12 and Big Ten, but that is all it has been, just conversations.
Lawrence was asked his thoughts on what those players are trying to accomplish. He admitted he has read the Pac-12’s list of demands, but he has not read over the Big Ten’s.
“I support that they want to better themselves and everyone around them, but I am just excited to play football and I can speak for pretty much our whole team. We are just glad to be back,” he said.
The players from the Big Ten and the Pac-12 want their demands implemented by their respective conferences and the NCAA, while the Pac-12 student-athletes went as far to threaten boycotting practices and games unless their requests are met.
Similar to the Big Ten’s set of mandates, the Pac-12’s demands include health and safety protections, the elimination of what the players described as excessive salaries, an end to racial injustice in sports and society, guaranteed medical coverage, and a profit-sharing arrangement in which 50 percent of each sport’s conference revenue would be distributed evenly among athletes.
“I don’t necessarily agree with everything that was on there, but I think they are people using their voice for something they believe and they want,” Lawrence said. “I respect that, so for me, I agree with some of it and some of it I don’t. That is how life is.”
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said on Thursday, he thinks the majority of the demands are fair and believes it is a good thing these topics and issues are being brought up and discussed, and said he always encourages his own players to speak up whenever they feel the need to be heard.
“Our players have had a voice,” Swinney said. “That’s probably the first thing I did, was give our players a voice and empower them to help be a huge part of our program. We’ve done that from the first time I became coach.
“But as far as specific things that were out there, I saw a little bit of it. What I did see, most of it, to me, was pretty common sense and some reasonable things. Even like the six-year guarantee — those are things we’ve been doing around here for forever. I’ve had 50-year-olds come back to Clemson and graduate. We’re way more committed to six years to our guys getting their degrees and have been for a long time. So, there’s some great things. Talking about some of the revenue stuff, I’ve always been for these guys getting some type of lump sum — I’ve just always wanted to tie it to graduation. So, always good when you have good conversation. But as far as my guys, man, they always have had a voice.”
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