PROVO — The Pac-12 may be facing a football player mutiny if health and social justice demands are not met.

Or not.

Just days after Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott and members of a special committee announced plans for its league-only schedule, a group of football players within the league released a letter of demands to be met or they wouldn’t show up to camps or play this season.

Among those whose names appeared in various social media posts was former Provo High and current Washington receiver Ty Jones, who reportedly is among those leading the movement.

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Many of the demands are noble, inspiring and even worthy of serious consideration. A few are absolutely needed in ongoing college athletics reform. But some are pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking. 

Yes, in negotiations, you’re supposed to aim high, but this is orbital.

This move is destined to wash out.


It comes too late. It’s like, “Change the world we play in by sundown tomorrow or we walk.”

COVID-19 is kicking everybody right now, and college sports is no exception.

It’s like a crowd gathering for lifeboats on a sinking ship and survivors demanding Snickers bars, Red Bulls and a window seat.

It just isn’t going to fly with the majority of Pac-12 players who are hungry, eager and anxious to get this season kicked off — if there is a season. As concerned as many are becoming these days, there are limits to reality and how things work as the wheels of time grind forward.

Besides, with the pandemic, yes, there is a feeling that no crisis should go to waste and it is a perfect time to jump over burning rail cars and scream for help, but schools are hurting right now to even open campus doors and have students make it to classrooms and the practice fields.

However, it may be a good attention-getting start to a serious and much-needed argument.  I thought the point about using school endowment money to fund sports is brilliant after Stanford discontinued 11 sports this summer yet has an endowment fund of $27.7 billion.


But a boycott threat also goes against the very nature of a football squad and its innate need for unity, duty, dedication, alignment and teamwork built on trust, effort and commitment. Football coaches work overtime trying to achieve this chemistry because if they do not, the entire idea of holding a practice and workout regime fails. If a coach does not have this internal fuel pushing his team forward, it sputters and breaks down from within.

This late demand threatens the existence of a team ideal. And it is something football coaches dread more than anything but injuries — that players blink at showing up to a meeting on time.

Of course, that’s the idea of a threatened boycott.

Players have been programmed all their football lives to put aside the one for the many, to not be a maverick.

While I believe this Pac-12 player movement has many worthy elements, I think it fails because it is asking too much, too late, with too many bricks to lay in too short a time. I bet most Pac-12 players across the league will not hop on board just because there are others who threaten not to play.

This garnered a lot of publicity and that’s good. It got something over the weekend.

If Pac-12 players don’t take to the field in 2020, it will not be due to this letter. COVID-19 is carrying the big hammer and this letter will turn out to be something left in the tool belt riding along.