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Parents of Nebraska football players issue letter to Big Ten

Nebraska football players parents issued a letter to the Big Ten on Sunday.
Published: Aug. 16, 2020 at 3:51 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The parents of Nebraska football players issued a letter to the Big Ten on Sunday. The parents posted the letter on Twitter noting their dislike of the Big Ten’s ruling to postpone the 2020 Fall Season.

York head football coach Glen Snodgrass helped write the letter as his son, Garrett, is a linebacker for the Huskers.

“Transparency has been a major issue for me. If there is data out there that is truly is not in a safe place right now, by all means, let’s close it down. But they haven’t come out with any of that and maybe it’s out there, but as far as I know I haven’t heard anything,” said Snodgrass.

A copy of the letter can be read below:

An open letter to Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren,

We, as parents of Nebraska Cornhusker football players, are writing this letter to express our displeasure in the recent decision to postpone the 2020 fall sports season. Although we appreciate the committee’s effort in this matter, we have questions concerning the facts and data behind this decision. Finally, we would urge you to seek out a formal plan that includes input from players and coaches from each institution regarding decisions of this nature.

Upon posting the season, you stated, “After hours of discussion with our Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee, it became abundantly clear that there was too much uncertainly regarding potential medical risks to allow our student-athletes to compete this fall.” One could argue that “risks and uncertainties” have surrounded this virus since March, so why the drastic change from August 5th to August 11th? If the decision was based on medical data and not conjecture, why then was there no transparency to share it? Our confusion in this decision is exacerbated when we hear reports from other conferences’ medical experts. One such example is Dr. Cameron Wolfe, the Chairman of the ACC’s Medical Advisory Team. He told Sports Business Daily, he “thinks football can safely be played this season.” The players and parents of the Big Ten deserve to see the medical data which shows that our sons are more at risk playing than living on campus, or even returning home without the medical protocols that are currently in place at UNL.

Our biggest concern as parents is the mental and physical well being of our sons. We fully appreciate your “care and concern for our athletes’ mental and physical health and welfare” that was shared in your postponement press release. The decision to release the schedule only to postpone the season less than a week later based on “risks and uncertainties,” has taken an emotional toll on our sons. The complications of this decision will have ramifications for the future of these athletes. Physically, we feel it is not in their best interest to play two seasons within the 2021 year. Football is a unique and violent sport. Their bodies need time to heal and recover and we are concerned that these back to back seasons could cause more physical harm harm than COVID-19 could. We would argue that the stringent protocol put in place by the University of Nebraska to screen, migrate risk, and treat our sons is exceptional, and goes above and beyond the Big Ten protocols. We cannot commend Coach Frost and his staff enough. They have listened to the advice of UNMC experts and have been ahead of the curve when it comes to putting the physical well being of our athletes first, and we feel completely comfortable with our sons in their care.

Our final concern is that this decision was made without equal representation from student-athletes of all Big Ten schools. On August 11th, you stated “While I know our decision today will be disappointing in many ways for our thousands of student-athletes and their families, I am heartened and inspired by their resilience, their insightful and discerning thoughts, and their participation through our conversations to this point.” We are unaware of any conversation you had personally with Nebraska athletes and/or parents. And yes, our athletes are resilient, but this has taken a mental and emotional toll on them.

We do not want to make light of the seriousness of this terrible disease, but it is not going away. Our sons are willing to assume the risk and commit to mitigating risks this fall. There are no guarantees these risks will be gone by the spring season. Athletes understand the risks involved in playing sports under normal circumstances. While COVID-19 can complicate these risks, we feel they are manageable with the medical protocol in place to have a fall season.

On August 5th, you stated that you would feel comfortable allowing your own son to play in the Big Ten this season with the medical protocols that have been put in place, which we parents unilaterally support. Six days later you made a complete about-face. We are simply asking for transparency in why that decision changed so quickly, what medical data was used to make the decision to postpone, and for the Big Ten to put in place a formal process to get equal input from players and coaches of all schools regarding decisions of this nature.

As Husker football parents, we are united in our support and endorsement of the UNL football staff and medical team in their quest to prepare and complete a healthy and successful fall season, emotionally, physically and socially. In case we haven’t been clear enough, WE WANT OUR BOYS TO PLAY THIS FALL! Thank you for your time and consideration. GO BIG RED!!

Sincerely,

Concerned Parents of 81 Husker Football Players

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