Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields is getting increasing public support in his Hail Mary attempt to save the fall football season.
By Monday morning, less than 24 hours after it was launched, more than 227,000 people had signed Fields’ online petition to immediately reinstate the 2020 football season. The Big Ten Conference – of which Ohio State is a member – announced on Tuesday that all fall sports would be canceled, while holding open the possibility of playing in the spring.
Fields, who has been among the most vocal advocates for playing a season of some kind, launched the MoveOn.org petition on Sunday morning along with other Big Ten players.
“We want to play," the petition reads. "We believe that safety protocols have been established and can be maintained to mitigate concerns of exposure to COVID-19. We believe that we should have the right to make decisions about what is best for our health and our future. Don’t let our hard work and sacrifice be in vain."
The NCAA has banned schools from having athletes sign waivers in case they contract COVID-19.
Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said university leaders were following the advice of medical professionals, who advised against playing any organized sports this fall amid a spike in coronavirus cases in Ohio and around the country.
"You look at this decision, we just believed collectively that there’s too much uncertainty at this point in time in our country to encourage our student-athletes to participate in fall sports," Warren told Big Ten Network on Tuesday.
The Big Ten and Pac-12’s decision to postpone sports has thrown a wrench in the upcoming football season. Leaders of other major conferences, including the SEC, ACC and Big 12, say they are still proceeding with plans to play this fall, although that could change if case numbers continue rising.
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith has said he supports a spring football season, while Buckeye head coach Ryan Day wants a winter season of eight games beginning in January.
Over the weekend, parents of Ohio State football players sent a letter to Warren asking for the reinstatement of the fall football schedule, and asked for the release of all medical data and information used to make the decision. The parents also requested a meeting with warren for senior players and their parents.