Multiple NFL coaches have wondered aloud about how teams are going to conduct training camp while maintaining league-mandated guidelines for combating the spread of COVID-19 and there are also questions about how oversight to assure that teams are following those guidelines will work.
Some members of the UCLA football team have aired their concerns about head coach Chip Kelly and his staff following those guidelines. J. Brady McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports that 30 players on the team have submitted a document asking for a “third-party health official” to oversee compliance when voluntary workouts start on Monday.
The document, which cites “neglected and mismanaged injury cases” in the past, also asks for whistleblower protections for anyone reporting violations and no retaliation from the university should a player choose not to return.
“These demands reflect our call for an environment in which we do not feel pressured to return to competition, and if we choose not to return, that our decision will be respected,” the document reads. “If our demands are not met, we will refrain from booster events, recruiting events and all football-related promotional activities. The decision to return to training amidst a global pandemic has put us, the student-athletes, on the frontlines of a battle that we as a nation have not yet been able to win. We feel that as some of the first members of the community to attempt a return to normalcy, we must have assurances that allow us to make informed decisions and be protected regardless of our decision.”
UCLA’s senior associate athletic director Matt Elliott said that the school will guarantee fall sport athletes’ aid through the coming season, but there are no guarantees being made about scholarships beyond that point.