As student-athletes across select football conferences have tweeted in support of the #WeWantToPlay movement, only one UCF Knight has joined in.
Offensive lineman Parker Boudreaux tweeted, “#WeWantToPlay,” Sunday night.
The “We Want To Play” movement stemmed from reports that the Big Ten Conference was moving toward canceling its 2020 football season. The Mid-American Conference became the first FBS conference to cancel fall football, which it announced Saturday. The Mountain West Conference followed suit Monday.
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is considered a leader of the movement. He tweeted a list of player demands, which includes mandated health and safety protocols and the freedom to opt out, at 12:01 a.m. Monday.
Although Boudreaux is the only Knight to speak out thus far, other American Athletic Conference players — and even a coach — have vocalized their want to play football this fall.
USF offensive lineman Demetris Harris tweeted out an AAC-specific #WeWantToPlay graphic Monday afternoon and Memphis quarterback Brady White and Houston wide receiver Marquez Stevenson followed shortly. From there, more Houston, more Memphis and more USF players publicized the list. Bulls head coach Jeff Scott also tweeted his support of the movement and a fall season.
“I fully support and stand proudly with our @USFFootball players!! #WeWantToPlay,” Scott wrote Monday morning.
The AAC players’ list of demands includes:
- Promote and support open communication between players, conferences and the NCAA
- Support players’ ability to unionize with their best interests in mind
- Give players the opportunity to choose to opt out or play
- Guarantee eligibility if a player chooses to opt out
- Create an environment that will protect the health and privacy of student-athletes
- Develop universal health and safety protocols to protect student-athletes against COVID-19
By the end of Monday, no UCF Knights players had retweeted or mentioned the official statement or the demands on Twitter.
The recent dichotomy of football conferences releasing schedules and then planning to announce season cancellations confused UCF defensive lineman Kenny Turnier.
He tweeted Sunday night, “So we playing or what.”
So we playing or what— Kenny Turnier (@KennyTurnier0) August 10, 2020
Despite the lack of UCF players publicly joining the #WeWantToPlay movement, the Knights have reportedly been on the forefront of voicing their concerns regarding COVID-19 safety and scholarship eligibility, according to a report by Sports Illustrated.
“I’m confident our players are comfortable with what UCF is doing relative to their health and safety,” UCF AD Danny White told Sports Illustrated in a statement. “Some of their concerns, for example, revolve around what happens when they go outside their ‘bubble’ on a road trip. All these questions have given us opportunities for our players to hear more details from our medical experts, coaches, and staff as we navigate this unprecedented set of circumstances.
“Josh Heupel and his staff, as well as our administration, are very supportive of the concerns of our student-athletes. I feel very good about our health and safety protocols.”
Our own Brian Murphy reported Monday there is “no huge urgency for full-blown practices” right now and it is not clear when UCF will hold a padded practice.
I've been told #UCF held team and position meetings today. The players are doing gym work, but there is "no huge urgency for full-blown practices" right now. A game on the weekend on Sept. 5 appears "unlikely." It's not clear yet when UCF will hold a padded practice.— Brian Murphy (@Spokes_Murphy) August 10, 2020
The AAC has yet to formally announce its decision on a 2020 football season. SI's Ross Dellenger reported Monday evening that although AAC school presidents will meet Tuesday, a vote regarding the fate of the season is not expected and the AAC "is continuing to move forward" with its fall football plans.
Daniella Medina is a contributing writer for the Black & Gold Banneret. Follow her on Twitter @danimedinanews.