As college athletes return to campus for voluntary workouts, schools are reporting COVID-19 outbreaks amongst members of their athletic departments.
At UCLA, many football players were expected to head back to school Monday, but that will depend on how the program responds to some demands members of the team.
After a virtual team meeting held Thursday night, 30 UCLA football players reportedly have requested a “third-party health official” be on hand for activities to ensure COVID-19 protocols are followed, not trusting coach Chip Kelly’s program to act in the best interest of their health and safety, via J. Brady McCollough of the Los Angeles Times.
The team presented the school with a document, requesting that each player has the ability to make a decision on whether or not they want to return to school without losing their scholarship or any other retaliation.
“These demands reflect our call for an environment in which we do not feel pressured to return to competition, and if we choose not to return, that our decision will be respected,” the document read, as reported by McCollough. “If our demands are not met, we will refrain from booster events, recruiting events and all football-related promotional activities.
“The decision to return to training amidst a global pandemic has put us, the student-athletes, on the frontlines of a battle that we as a nation have not yet been able to win. We feel that as some of the first members of the community to attempt a return to normalcy, we must have assurances that allow us to make informed decisions and be protected regardless of our decision.”
The document reportedly also alleged that in the past, UCLA has “perpetually failed” its football players, citing “neglected and mismanaged injury cases” though no specific examples were given.