Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields started a petition on Sunday calling on the Big Ten to reinstate the season and allow the players and coaches to decide whether or not to move forward, Tyler Conway of Bleacher Report wrote. Within hours of the post, it garnered tens of thousands of signatures and approached 50,000 total participants by the afternoon.
Fields said he was speaking on behalf of players all over the conference. His petition is aimed at forcing commissioner Kevin Warren to reverse his decision from a week ago, when he postponed all fall sports. Some have looked at it as a cancellation as there has not been a date or time to resume activities, even with talk of a potential spring return.
It appears there have been so many signatories that Fields has been increasing the goal every couple of minutes. However, there hasn’t been any indication that any number of people joining the cause will convince Warren he needs to bring back fall sports.
As Conway pointed out, Warren’s cancellation came just hours before the Pac 12 made a similar announcement. The Big 12, SEC, and ACC are going ahead with their seasons, as of now. It is those decisions that has made Fields and his allies believe there is a chance the Big Ten might reinstate the regular schedule.
The commissioner had also issued a revised schedule where teams in the conference would only play their geographical rivals. Fields and other players that have joined his movement are hoping that some kind of modified plan can be arrived at that would still allow for football before 2021.
In his petition, Fields laid out why he believed this particular movement was needed.
“We want to play. We believe that safety protocols have been established and can be maintained to mitigate concerns of exposure to Covid 19,” he wrote. “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.”
Fields closed with a hashtag that has been used in recent weeks by people who are still hoping to see the sport come back in 2020, “wewanttoplay.”
So far, there has been no response to the posting by the powers that be in the conference or the NCAA. Presidents in the Big Ten reportedly voted 12-2 for postponement, including Ohio State, and as Conway pointed out, that makes a return more difficult.