The push for the reversal of the Big Ten football decision continues. This time, it comes from a group of eight Nebraska football players, who are taking things to court.
Brant Banks, Brig Banks, Alante Brown, Jackson Hannah, Garrett Nelson, Ethan Piper, Noa Pola-Gates, and Garrett Snodgrass have released a 13-page complaint. The group seeks more information on how the Big Ten reached its decision, which was made rather abruptly a few weeks ago. It also ultimately seeks to reverse the decision.
“Our Clients want to know whether there was a vote and the details of any vote, and whether the Big Ten followed its own rules in reaching its decision,” attorney Mike Flood, who is representing the group, told the Omaha World-Herald. “Sadly, these student-athletes have no other recourse than filing a lawsuit against their conference.”
On August 11, the Big Ten presidents decided to cancel the fall sports season, with hopes to play in the spring. Nebraska is one of the programs, along with Ohio State, that has been most active in trying to push back against that decision. Parents of Huskers players, as well as those as 10 other programs, sent a letter to commissioner Kevin Warren laying out a list of demands the other day as well, and some have protested at Big Ten headquarters.
BREAKING: Eight Nebraska football players are suing the Big Ten in the district court of Lancaster County, seeking to have the court invalidate league’s decision to postpone the season.
— Sam McKewon (@swmckewonOWH) August 27, 2020
Per the Omaha World-Herald, the 13-page complaint—available in full here—hinders Nebraska football players’ abilities to pursue professional football opportunities. The complaint also calls into question the legitimacy of the voting that went on to reach the decision.
» Wrongful interference with business expectations. For football student-athletes, the season represents a chance to work toward a career as a professional player as well as develop personal brands for eventual monetary gain under name/image/likeness legislation. Canceling the fall campaign based on what is now outdated or inaccurate medical information — while not taking into account why players are actually safer in a team environment that tests them regularly — cannot be justified.
» Breach of contract. The league — through reputation, public statements and its own documents — has established it exists in part to benefit its student-athletes. It potentially violated that contract by not holding an actual vote within its Council of Presidents and Chancellors.
» Declaratory judgment. The Big Ten not actually voting on the decision, or at least being unwilling and/or unable to produce records of such a vote, violates its governing documents. The decision should be invalid and unenforceable.
It is very unclear if any of these pushes, both through public sentiment and now, the courts, will be successful in getting the Big Ten to restart things in the fall. It doesn’t look like the players and their families are backing down any time soon.