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Nebraska Football Players Filing a Lawsuit to Reinstate Football This Season

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Nebraska Football Players Filing a Lawsuit to Reinstate Football This Season

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Eight Nebraska football players have filed a lawsuit against The Big Ten Conference, the oldest Division I collegiate athletic conference in the country, after The Big Ten Council announced the postponement of the 2020-21 fall sports season. This decision came about due to concerns over the continuing spread of the COVID-19 virus throughout college campuses.

Players are concerned about the possible effects of this season’s postponement on their careers.

Some sports players, including the eight football players in question, believe the decision to postpone this year’s fall season is resulting in costly harm to their football careers. Evidence of a formal vote for the decision has yet to be produced by the league’s Council of Presidents and Chancellors, causing players and fans alike to feel irate at the lack of clear communication.

There is some doubt as to the viability of the lawsuit.

The Big Ten has so far claimed that the lawsuit is without merit and that they have no plans to reverse their decision, which was made in an effort to protect student-athletes from the virus. The football players contend that postponing the season will result in damage to their careers by eliminating the usual exposure which could help them transition to professional football careers, and inhibits their ability to market themselves as players. Many parties, including The Big Ten and even the director of Tulane University’s Sports Law Program, do not see the lawsuit making headway. The fact of the matter is that it is easier to prove that harm arose from allowing players on the field than to prove that harm arose from not allowing them to play.

Players, coaches, and fans are particularly concerned about the vagueness of the explanation for the decision.

The players’ attorney is currently seeking documentation and data to determine if a formal vote did truly occur, as well as whether the data used to make the decision was reasonably trustworthy. There is some concern that the decision to postpone the season over COVID-19 concerns was based on virus data involving older patients in worse physical condition than the Nebraska players. If this is the case, supporters of the lawsuit argue that the decision was based on flawed reasoning. Some supporters of the lawsuit are less concerned about the postponement of the season than they are over improved clarity of the issue and improved openness from The Big Ten regarding their decision-making process.

If The Big Ten can provide evidence of a formal vote and share the evidence used for their decision, it is quite possible that the entire lawsuit will go away. As the matter currently stands, it seems unlikely that the players’ lawsuit will reverse the postponement of the season.

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