USC football players Tuesday asked Gov. Gavin Newsom to ease public health restrictions to allow them to play a fall season.
The letter signed “The USC Football Players” asks Newsom to “work with us — urgently and purposefully — to find a path forward for us to resume competition later this fall so that we can have the same opportunity as other teams round the country to play for a national championship.”
There was no immediate response to an email sent to Newsom’s press office seeking comment.
The letter on the football program’s stationery posted on Twitter by quarterback Kedon Slovis, receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown and other players referred to the Pac-12 Conference’s partnership with a diagnostic firm aimed at providing possibly daily coronavirus testing for student-athletes in contact sports.
“According to the Pac-12’s Medical Advisory Committee, daily antigen testing with a turn-around time of less than one hour reduces COVID-19 infectiousness by 100%,” the letter said.
“With the Pac-12’s commitment to daily testing via its new partnership with the Quidel Corp. and the continued dedication to comprehensive health and safety protocols locally on our campus, we feel comfortable proceeding with this season.”
The letter noted that state and local restrictions bar California’s college football teams from practicing in groups larger than 12, gathering as a team or using any indoor facilities.
USC coach Clay Helton tweeted his support of the players, writing, “We will always celebrate and support the voice of our players. Proud of these young men. #FightOn”
The Pac-12 Conference postponed all sports through the end of the year Aug. 11 due to health concerns from the coronavirus pandemic.
Two of the nation’s other four top conferences, the Atlantic Coast Conference and Big 12 Conference have begun their football seasons, while the Southeastern Conference will begin its season Sept. 26.
The fifth major conference, the 14-team Big Ten, postponed its season Aug. 11.
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