Dec 28, 2019; Glendale, AZ, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields (1) against the Clemson Tigers during the 2019 Fiesta Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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Ohio State QB Fields’ petition to play in ’20 goes viral

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields’ petition to play football in 2020 has gone viral with signatures from across the United States pushing for the Big Ten conference to reconsider its decision to postpone the upcoming season to spring.

Fields is likely entering his final season at Ohio State. A finalist for the Heisman Trophy in 2019, he is expected to be a first-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft.

After Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren announced the Big Ten wouldn’t play as scheduled in the fall, Fields launched a MoveOn petition. By Monday afternoon, more than 250,000 had signed the petition. Fields said his goal is to reach 300,000.

The Big Ten and Pac-12 are the only Power 5 leagues hitting the pause button, but followed the lead of the Ivy League, Mid-American Conference and others. Warren said medical advice and evolving information regarding the impact of the coronavirus on athletes beyond the typical recovery period from the virus sparked concerns.

Last week, more than half of Iowa’s scholarship players and their parents sent a letter asking for greater transparency from the Big Ten regarding the decision not to play until — if possible — spring 2021. For players like Fields with probable NFL futures, playing a spring season comes with a complete set of unique complications.

The annual NFL Scouting Combine takes place in February and the NFL draft is an annual April event. While the NFL is considering moving both events to accommodate football schedules, athletes conceivably months from cashing million-dollar checks as professional football players are not certain to participate in a college season in the spring.

Fields addressed his petition to “Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren, Big Ten University Presidents and Big Ten Athletic Directors.”

It begins, “#WeWantToPlay.

“We, the football players of the Big Ten, together with the fans and supporters of college football, request that the Big Ten Conference immediately reinstate the 2020 football season. Allow Big Ten players/teams to make their own choice as to whether they wish to play or opt out this fall season. Allow Big Ten players/teams who choose to opt out of playing a fall season to do so without penalty or repercussion.

“Why is this important?

“We want to play. 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. #LetUsPlay!”

Buckeyes coach Ryan Day voiced his support for Fields on Twitter on Monday.

“I could not be more proud of Justin Fields and I support his efforts,” Day wrote. “He loves Ohio State. He loves his teammates. We ask our players to be leaders and he’s leading. I’m honored to coach him and this team. #FIGHT”

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said each conference institution was allowed to have at least two players participate in discussions surrounding that league’s decision to play in the fall rather than postpone the season to spring.

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said delaying the season to later in September allows his conference to be patient on determining whether football can be played safely in the fall.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.