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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Coronavirus

AAC players push to play as commissioner says fall football ‘can move forward’


If the AAC keeps its plan for the 2020 football season, the Cougars are scheduled to play Rice on Sept. 3 at home. | File Photo/ The Cougar

If the AAC keeps its plan for the 2020 football season, the Cougars are scheduled to play Rice on Sept. 3 at home. | File Photo/ The Cougar

UPDATED: College football seems to have reached a crossroads when it comes to playing a 2020 season or canceling it altogether. After Saturday’s decision by the Mid-American Conference that there will be no sports this fall, reports have swirled that Power Five conferences will soon follow, like the Big Ten, who is reportedly expected to cancel its 2020 season also.

When it comes to the American Athletic Conference, the conference in which the Houston football team plays in, they are at a bit of a standstill as they wait to see what the Power Five  conferences do.

The AAC released its decision on football just last Wednesday, in which it approved an eight-game conference schedule with the flexibility to play up to four non-conference games.

“Right now, we’re not of a mind to stop, to not move forward,” AAC commissioner Mike Aresco told the Dallas Morning News on Sunday. “We think we can move forward, one step at a time. We think it’s early August. We think that the trends are moving in the right direction.”

According to the Dallas Morning News, it is unlikely that the AAC makes a decision before the Power Five conferences do.

While university presidents, athletics directors and conference leaders decide on the fate of the 2020 football season, some student-athletes have expressed their opinion to play a season.

The most notable was Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who sent out a series of tweets on Sunday that centered around the #WeWantToPlay movement.

In the series of tweets, Lawrence expressed the desire that student-athletes want to play if they can get mandated health protocols and an opt-out option that allows players to keep their eligibility if they choose not to play.

He also argued that players could be more at risk if there is no 2020 season as it provides student-athletes a plethora of resources like testing as well as an incentive to social distance and reduce behavior that could put them at an increased risk to get COVID-19.

When it comes to UH football players, there have been multiple athletes, who have expressed their agreement with the Clemson quarterback. Some have even quoted Lawrence’s tweets in support like senior wide receiver Keith Corbin.

Similar to Lawrence, Houston senior wide receiver Marquez Stevenson partnered with other AAC players like South Florida senior cornerback KJ Sails and Memphis quarterback Brady White to craft a statement that featured the AAC logo.

The statement includes the desire of open communication between players and conferences, the support of the creation of a players association, the option of an opt-out that would not take a year of eligibility for those that choose to use it, protection of student-athletes’ health and privacy, and mandated safety procedures.

 

While student-athletes make their voices heard and the university presidents, athletic directors and conference leaders wrestle with the decision, time keeps ticking. The AAC has its first slate of games scheduled for Aug. 29. Houston has its first game set for Sept. 19.

UH held OTA workouts in small groups on Monday.

For more of The Cougar’s coronavirus coverage, click here.

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