athletes

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Pac-12 football players lead way as college athletes speak out

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It was a rare and dramatic power play from a group of organized college athletes. But how it was delivered to reporters was noteworthy, too. The message came from the Gmail account of Valentino Daltoso, an offensive lineman at the University of California, and offered the personal email addresses of the other players so reporters could contact them.

“The interests of athletes aren’t always in line with the institutions and coaches,” said Andrew Cooper, a Cal cross-country runner who helped organize the effort. “It was important that we talked directly to the media.”

As college sports navigate their returns, enveloped by issues of racial justice, safety and amateurism, athletes have advocated for themselves this year in unprecedented ways. That’s including how they have delivered their messages.

Many college athletic departments prohibit players from talking to journalists without team permission. Some team handbooks urge players not to speak to the media at all. Others, including at the University of Alabama and the University of Georgia, have policies against freshmen speaking to the media during the regular season. And many schools have policies that monitor or even restrict players’ social media accounts.

But in their efforts to advocate for change this year, players have increasingly cut out their athletic departments. The Pac-12 players maintained correspondence with reporters over several weeks about their negotiations with the conference. When Florida State’s football coach said in an interview that he was having one-on-one conversations with players about George Floyd and racial justice, defensive lineman Marvin Wilson tweeted that it wasn’t true. Clemson’s football program recently eliminated a long-standing rule barring players from using social media, after star quarterback Trevor Lawrence tweeted about players’ rights and the return of the season over the summer.

As games are canceled and some universities withhold information about positive coronavirus

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Athletes face emotional blow as pandemic uproots college sports

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Early mornings, late nights, countless hours of training. And now, perhaps nothing to show for it.

Where student-athletes are left after programs cut or postponed

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That’s a glimpse at the uncertainty for college athletes across the country who have had seasons derailed. In some cases, their programs have even been cut altogether as schools react to the health risks and financial ripples of COVID-19.

The pandemic has shaken the college sports scene to its core, dealing an emotional blow to athletes as they’re forced to stay on their toes about the status of their careers.

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Some college football conferences have made a loud return to action, but many athletes in lower revenue sports – the runners, swimmers, golfers, and soccer players – are still waiting to take the field or hear if they’ll be able to compete again.

Many athletic conferences have pushed non-football fall sports to the spring. But with CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield saying a vaccine won’t be widely available until mid-2021, even that timeframe could make it difficult to restart sports en masse while keeping everyone safe.



a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Along with the men's and women's swim teams, Dartmouth discontinued men's and women's golf, and men's lightweight rowing.


© Provided by Connor LaMastra
Along with the men’s and women’s swim teams, Dartmouth discontinued men’s and women’s golf, and men’s lightweight rowing.

College football and COVID-19: A big, disjointed experiment exposes scientific, political gaps

Between the decisions made by schools, conferences, local and state officials or the CDC itself, the fates of so many athletic careers rest in the hands of higher powers.

Some students have already been dealt disappointing results.

‘A total slap in the face’

Wrestlers at Old Dominion, swimmers at UConn and baseball players at Boise State are all in the same boat. So are

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The uncertainty of the pandemic has college-bound athletes pondering a pause in eligibility

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“This summer was very hectic,” said Gill, a midfielder and recipient of the Nobles Shield award for most respected female athlete.

“Almost every day I’d see a notification for a group chat, [an incoming player] would ask if anyone’s made a decision, and everyone replied immediately, ‘No, what are people’s thoughts?’”

“It was very scary at the beginning. I knew the gap year was the path I wanted to take, but in the back of my mind I was so nervous that my plans weren’t going to be as rewarding as I thought.”

Gill is not alone.

A study conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA in late April found that at least 16 percent of surveyed seniors said they will take a gap year, whereas the study found fewer than 3 percent deferred the previous year.

And it’s not just first-year students. Gill’s future teammate, former Concord-Carlisle star midfielder Payton Vaughn, is a junior at Yale. A two-time high school All-American, Vaughn started six games in 2020 before the spring season was cancelled. She applied and received her eligibility back for that season, and said she will likely take this spring semester off to be eligible for another year.

At Yale, student-athletes have eight semesters of eligibility, so Vaughn is enrolled this fall, but can make a decision prior to Thanksgiving on her status for the spring. Her sister, Fallon, a three-time All-American at Concord-Carlisle and member of the U-17 women’s lacrosse national team, has already decided on a gap year before enrolling for her first year at Yale.

“It’s nice that we have the flexibility,” said Vaughn. “It definitely depends on what the season looks like. A lot of the Yale athletics community is taking time off, so that’s a big factor.”

Another key

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College sports cut, seasons canceled: Student athletes feel abandoned

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Early mornings, late nights, countless hours of training. And now, perhaps nothing to show for it.

That’s a glimpse at the uncertainty for college athletes across the country who have had seasons derailed. In some cases, their programs have even been cut altogether as schools react to the health risks and financial ripples of COVID-19.

The pandemic has shaken the college sports scene to its core, dealing an emotional blow to athletes as they’re forced to stay on their toes about the status of their careers.

Some college football conferences have made a loud return to action, but many athletes in lower revenue sports – the runners, swimmers, golfers, and soccer players – are still waiting to take the field or hear if they’ll be able to compete again.

Many athletic conferences have pushed non-football fall sports to the spring. But with CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield saying a vaccine won’t be widely available until mid-2021, even that timeframe could make it difficult to restart sports en masse while keeping everyone safe.

College football and COVID-19: A big, disjointed experiment exposes scientific, political gaps

Between the decisions made by schools, conferences, local and state officials or the CDC itself, the fates of so many athletic careers rest in the hands of higher powers.

Some students have already been dealt disappointing results.

‘A total slap in the face’

Wrestlers at Old Dominion, swimmers at UConn and baseball players at Boise State are all in the same boat. So are athletes from 11 different athletic programs at Stanford and seven different teams at George Washington.

They’re among the dozens of programs that have been cut by colleges this year, leaving athletes with a nerve-wracking decision: To stay at their school or transfer to continue playing the sport they love.

Connor LaMastra