Eight University of Nebraska footballers are suing the Big Ten over the conference’s decision not to have a season this fall.
“This is a case in which a powerful collegiate sports conference claims its student athletes have no rights,” the lawsuit said. “Even though its decision significantly and directly affects the rights and opportunities of student athletes at its member institutions, the Big Ten has rejected calls for transparency and refuses to provide documents to support its claim that a vote was organized or that an appropriate procedure was followed. “
On August 19, Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said that “the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors vote was overwhelmingly in favor of postponing fall sports and will not be reviewed.”
But the lawsuit claims a vote did not take place, citing comments from Michigan State University President Samuel Stanley Jr. and University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel.
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Michigan Live reported last week that Stanley told reporters the conference was united in its decision, but it was “more of a consensus than a vote.”
The Star Tribune reported that Gabel also said there was no vote last week.
“We did not vote per se. It’s a deliberative process where we came to a decision together, but I absolutely support the decision we came to, ”Gabel reportedly said.
The players – Garrett Snodgrass, Garrett Nelson, Ethan Piper, Noa Pola Gates, Alante Brown, Brant Banks, Brig Banks and Jackson Hannah – are asking for no more than $ 75,000 in damages and that the season be restored.
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The Big Ten responded on Thursday that conference leaders had held a vote and made the decision based on expert medical advice.
“We share the disappointment that some student-athletes and their families are feeling,” the conference said in a statement obtained by ESPN. “However, this lawsuit has no merit and we will defend the decision to protect all student-athletes as we sail. through this global pandemic. We are actively considering options to return to competition and look forward to doing so when it is safe to play. ”
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The Big Ten initially released a revised football schedule on August 5 that included 10 games. Six days later, on August 11, the conference announced it was canceling or postponing the entire season.
The Pac-12 was the only other Power 5 conference to cancel its football season this fall. The other three – SEC, ACC, and Big 12 – all move forward with modified seasons.