Wisconsin football 2012 signing class

Leave a comment

(Courtesy of Wisconsin, here are the bios of the members of the Badgers’ 2012 recruiting class.)

Vince Biegel
6’3, 225, LB
Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
Lincoln HS

High School: Four-star recruit by ESPN, Rivals and Scout … No. 73 player nationally by Rivals … ranked
as the No. 3 outside linebacker by Rivals, No. 15 by ESPN and No. 23 by Scout … top-ranked player in
Wisconsin by ESPN and Rivals … finished his career with 425 tackles, 27 sacks, 10 interceptions, 10
forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and four defensive touchdowns … in senior season, named
U.S. Army, USA Today and Parade All-American … also the Gatorade Wisconsin Player of the Year and
Conference Player of the Year … 2011 National Underclassman Midwest Ultimate Top 60 … winner
of the John Anderson Award (outstanding linebacker) and finalist for the Dick Butkus Award … also
selected as team captain and first-team all-state, all-region and all-conference … posted 172 tackles, 21
sacks, three interceptions, five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and two defensive touchdowns
as a senior … as a junior, recorded 171 tackles, six sacks, four interceptions, five forced fumbles, two
fumble recoveries and two defensive touchdowns … named team captain and first-team all-state, all-
region and all-conference for his efforts … earned second-team all-conference honors as a sophomore
after picking up 82 tackles and three interceptions as a safety … lettered in football, hockey and track
and field … head coach was Tony Biolo

Personal: Parents are Rocky and Jamie Biegel … father, Rocky, played linebacker at BYU from 1988-
92 and wrestled in 1992 … uncle, T.D. Biegel, played fullback at BYU from 1989-93 … grandfather, Ken
Biegel, played linebacker and offensive guard at UW-Eau Claire … spent time speaking to youth sports
teams and elementary and junior high schools … also volunteers at his church

Hugs Etienne
5’11, 170, CB
Plantation, Fla.
South Plantation HS

High School: Three-star recruit by ESPN and Rivals, two-star recruit by Scout … No. 31 cornerback in the
nation by ESPN, No. 42 by Rivals … in four-year career, recorded 88 tackles, six interceptions and seven
forced fumbles … senior season featured 20 tackles, one interception and two forced fumbles … in junior
season made 38 tackles with three interceptions and three forced fumbles … posted 30 tackles, two
interceptions and two forced fumbles as a sophomore … team captain as a senior… lettered in football
and track and field … a member of the school’s honor roll … head coach was Doug Gatewood

Personal: Parents are Evance and Rosemarthe Etienne … relative, Kindly Jacques, played football at the
University of Memphis … relative, Jacky Candy, played football at Houston … has volunteered at youth
football camps and helped youth read books at summer camp

Arthur Goldberg
6’3, 270, DT
Mount Lebanon, Pa.
Mount Lebanon HS

High School: Three-star recruit by ESPN, Rivals and Scout … No. 55 defensive tackle in the nation by
Scout and No. 110 by ESPN … selected to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Fabulous 22 as a senior and junior …
finished career with 162 tackles, seven sacks and 12 tackles for loss … as a senior, named first-team all-
state and all-conference on the defensive line after picking up 63 tackles, three sacks and seven tackles
for loss … also named first-team all-conference and team’s defensive player of the year as a junior after
recording 60 tackles, four sacks and three TFLs … in sophomore season, made 39 tackles with two TFLs …
won three letters in football and two in wrestling … head coach was Chris Haering

Personal: Mother is Kathy Adams … coached youth football and wrestling and volunteered at camps in
both sports

Bart Houston
6’4, 215, QB
Dublin, Calif.
De La Salle HS

High School: Four-star recruit by ESPN and Scout, three-star recruit by Rivals … ranked by Scout as the
No. 7 quarterback in the country, by Rivals as the No. 12 QB and by ESPN as the No. 15 QB … holds
school records for career passing yards and completions, surpassing Matt Gutierrez who played three
seasons in the NFL … invited to ESPN Elite 11 QB camp and played in Semper-Fidelis All-American Bowl
… holds career numbers of 272-of-437 passing (62.2 percent) for 5,178 yards and 46 touchdowns …
as a senior, completed 99-of-171 passes for school record 1,999 yards and 16 touchdowns, while also
rushing for 338 yards and 19 touchdowns … honored as the Fox GoldenStatePreps California Junior
Player of the Year after completing 102-of-153 passes for 1,922 yards and 20 touchdowns, also ran
for 236 yards and 11 scores … named to the ESPN CalPreps All-State Junior and Sophomore teams …
in sophomore season, threw for 1,257 yards on 71-of-113 passing with 10 touchdown and ran for 101
yards and another touchdown … three-year state champion and letterwinner in football … team was 38-
1 in his career … head football coach was Bob Ladouceur

Personal: Parents are Guy and Inge (ing-GUH) Houston … father, Guy, played football and baseball at St.
Mary’s College (CA) from 1978-82 … grandfather, Fred Houston, played football at Fresno State (1951-
54) … an Eagle Scout … named after Green Bay Packers quarterback, Bart Starr

Vonte Jackson
6’0, 190, RB
Kenosha, Wis.
Bradford HS

High School: Four-star recruit by Rivals and Scout and three-star recruit by ESPN … ranked as the No. 21
running back in the nation by Rivals, No. 22 by ESPN and No. 28 by Scout … No. 2 player in the state by
ESPN and Rivals … missed almost all of senior season after tearing his ACL with 16 seconds left in second
quarter of first game, still managed to rush for 160 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries and catch
one pass for 38 yards before injury … carried 68 times for 956 yards and 13 touchdowns and caught 14
passes for 266 yards and four touchdowns in his junior year … team captain as a senior … nominated for
U.S. Army Game as a junior … lettered in football and track and field … head coach was Jed Kennedy

Personal: Parents are Allen and Donna Jackson … has coached youth football … high school teammate of
fellow recruit Matt Prell and current Badger Melvin Gordon

Reggie Love
6’3, 205, WR
Boynton Beach, Fla.
Spanish River HS

High School: Three-star recruit according to Scout and Rivals, two-star recruit by ESPN … No. 172 wide
receiver in the nation according to Scout and No. 176 athlete according to ESPN … selected to Outback
All-Star Game … named all-state, all-area, all-county and team MVP as a senior after catching 38 passes
for 876 yards and 13 touchdowns … also lettered in basketball … head coach was Ray Berger

Personal: Mother is Dean Ellison … volunteered at basketball camps

Jake Meador
6’7, 320, OL
Whiteland, Ind.
Whiteland HS

High School: Three-star recruit by ESPN, Scout and Rivals … No. 43 offensive tackle according to Rivals,
No. 67 by Scout and No. 79 by ESPN … fourth-ranked player in Indiana by Rivals and No. 6 by ESPN …
as a senior, named Indiana’s Mr. Football for linemen … also chosen first-team all-state by AP, Indiana
Football Coaches Association and Top-50 Elite … also first-team all-conference and all-county named
first-team … all-state as a junior by AP, Indiana Football Coaches Association and Top-50 Elite … also
first-team all-conference and all-county … earned three letters in football and two in basketball … head

football coach was Darrin Fisher

Personal: Parents are Joe and Kathy Meador … mother, Kathy, ran track at Indiana from 1976-77 …
brother, Reid, played football at Hillsdale College from 2007-12 and brother, Mitch, currently plays
football at Cincinnati … uncle, John Reid, played basketball at Austin Peay (1970-74) … uncle, Mel Nash,
swam at Indiana (1973-77), while other uncle, Kord Reid, swam at Texas A&M (1979-83) … aunt, Kim
Reid, was a diver at Texas A&M (1980-84) … helped at Whiteland Warrior Junior Football League Camp

Reggie Mitchell
6’0, 178, CB
Pittsburgh, Pa.
Shady Side Academy

High School: Two-star recruit according to ESPN, Rivals and Scout … ranked as the No. 129 cornerback in
the country by Scout and the No. 151 athlete by ESPN … as a senior, named first-team all-state defensive
back, All-WPIAL defensive back and all-conference defensive back … also a team MVP as a senior after
throwing for 800 yards and running for 1,420 yards and 22 touchdowns … all-conference defensive back
as a junior, also threw for 600 yards and ran for 550 yards and 10 touchdowns … passed for 500 yards
and ran for 600 yards and 12 touchdowns as a sophomore … also a three-time all-conference selection
as a quarterback and a two-year team captain … won three letters in football and two in basketball and
track and field … head coach was Dave Havern

Personal: Parents are Vicky Mitchell-Taylor and James Taylor … relative of New York Jets all-pro
defensive back Darrelle Revis, who was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Year in 2009 …
volunteered as a Community Builder in high school, helping younger students adjust to life in high
school … also volunteered at his local YMCA

Leo Musso
5’10, 190, ATH
Waunakee, Wis.
Waunakee HS

High School: Two-star recruit by Scout and Rivals … No. 8 player in Wisconsin according to Rivals …
in his career, rushed for 5,531 yards and 87 touchdowns (93 total touchdowns) … as a senior, named
first-team all-state by Wisconsin Football Coaches Association and AP and unanimous first-team all-
conference … winner of Elroy ‘Crazylegs’ Hirsch Running Back of the Year Award after rushing for 2,398
yards and 39 touchdowns and catching one touchdown pass … named first-team all-state by WFCA and
second-team all-state by the AP as a junior, also unanimous first-team all-conference … ran for 2,005
yards and 35 touchdowns and passed for three touchdowns … first-team all-conference as a sophomore
after rushing for 1,128 yards and 13 touchdowns and throwing for two more scores … three-time state

champions … also lettered in track and field … head football coach was Pat Rice

Personal: Mother is Teresa Musso … volunteered with the Waunakee Neighborhood Connections
as a present wrapper and food pantry worker … spoke at elementary and middle schools and was a
weightlifting supervisor at middle schools … high school teammate of fellow recruit Jack Russell and
current Badgers Austin Maly and Derek Straus

DJ Singleton
6’2, 195, S
Union, N.J.
St. Peter’s Prep

High School: Four-star recruit by ESPN and Scout and three-star recruit by Rivals … No. 14 safety in
the country according to Scout, No. 18 by ESPN and No. 27 by Rivals … as a senior, selected for the US
Marine All-American All-Star Game and the USA Today International Bowl … also chosen all-state, all-
metro and all-county after posting 53 tackles, four sacks, three forced fumbles and 12 tackles for loss …
named all-county and U.S. Army All-American Combine second-team after making 40 tackles with three
sacks and three forced fumbles as a junior … recorded 42 tackles and two sacks as a sophomore … team
captain as a senior … lettered three times in football and twice in track and field … head coach was Rich

Personal: Parents are Dwayne and Bernadette Singleton … volunteered as a youth coach

Dan Voltz
6’4, 295, OL
Barrington, Ill.
Barrington HS

High School: Four-star recruit by Rivals, Scout and ESPN … seventh-ranked guard in the nation by
Scout and No. 8 by Rivals, No. 19 offensive tackle in the nation by ESPN … third-ranked player in Illinois
by ESPN and fourth-ranked in Illinois by Rivals … named all-state as a senior by Illinois High School
Football Coaches Association, Illinois News-Gazette and Chicago Tribune, also named Mid-Suburban All-
Conference and Daily Herald All-Area … IHSA All-State Academic Team member … team captain as a
senior … as a junior, named all-state by the IHSA Coaches Association and the Illinois News-Gazette, MSL
All-Conference and all-area by the Daily Herald … lettered in football, wrestling and track and field …
head coach was Joe Sanchez

Personal: Parents are Robert and Beth Voltz … volunteered with Relay for Life and Barrington Food Drive
and as a Barrington Area Giving Day Volunteer

Walker Williams
6’7, 320, OL
Tacoma, Wash.
Baptist HS

High School: Three-star recruit by ESPN, Scout and Rivals … No. 40 offensive guard in the country
by Scout, No. 50 guard by Rivals and No. 110 offensive tackle by ESPN … seventh-ranked player in
Washington by Rivals … played in the Semper-Fidelis All-American Bowl … three-time all-state offensive
lineman … tabbed all-state by AP on both offensive and defensive lines as a senior … earned all-league
honors on both the offensive and defensive line as a senior and junior … named all-league on the
offensive line as a sophomore and freshman … two-time team captain … won four letters in football,
two in basketball and also lettered in track and field … won the state championship in the discus as a
junior … head football coach was Mark Smith

Personal: Parents are George Williams and Denise Sims … volunteered at local children’s hospital and
food bank

Trent Denlinger
6’6, 266, DE
Cuba City, Wis.
Cuba City HS

High School: Honorable mention all-state defensive end as a senior, also named first-team all-region and
all-conference as an offensive lineman and defensive end … 2011 Southwest Wisconsin Activities League
Lineman of the Year … in senior season, tallied 56 tackles, nine sacks, five tackles for loss, one forced
fumble, one interception, one blocked field goal and one defensive score … as a junior, named first-
team all-conference as an offensive and defensive lineman and also earned honorable mention all-area
honors after producing 84 tackles, six sacks, one interception and one defensive touchdown … played
on varsity as a sophomore, recording 12 tackles … two-time letterwinner in football and a three-time
letterwinner in basketball and baseball … member of the National Honor Society … head coach was Guy

Personal: Parents are Tom and Tina Denlinger … father, Tom, played football at Loras College …
volunteered as a coach for area youth sports teams and at his church

Alex Erickson
6’1, 200, WR
Argyle, Wis.
Darlington HS

High School: In his career, rushed for 3,856 yards and 57 touchdowns, passed for 3,648 yards and
37 touchdowns and recorded 170 tackles and 14 interceptions … chosen to play in the WFCA All-Star
game as a senior and was named the SWAL Conference and Wisconsin State Journal Small School
Player of the Year … also tabbed first-team all-state as defensive back and first-team all-conference as
defensive back and quarterback after gaining 2,489 yards of total offense (1,239 rushing, 1,250 passing),
scoring 33 touchdowns (20 rushing, 13 passing) and making 50 tackles with three interceptions … also
returned two punts for touchdowns … in junior season, named honorable mention all-state by AP and
awarded first-team all-conference honors as a defensive back and quarterback after gaining 2,185
yards of total offense (1,318 rushing, 867 passing), scoring 31 touchdowns (21 rushing, 10 passing) and
recording 45 tackles and four interceptions … as a sophomore, earned first-team all-conference honors
at defensive back and second-team honors as a quarterback following a season of 784 rushing yards
and nine rushing touchdowns, 884 passing yards and seven passing touchdowns and 45 tackles and five
interceptions … honorable mention all-conference honors as a freshman after posting 515 rushing yards
and seven rushing touchdowns, 647 passing yards and seven passing touchdowns and 30 tackles and
two interceptions … two-time team captain and three-time team MVP … won four letters in football,
basketball and track and field … three-time WBCA all-state selection in basketball … member of National
Honor Society and high school’s student council … head football coach was Scott Zywicki

Personal: Parents are Mike and Linda Erickson … volunteered in local youth sports leagues as a coach
and referee

Matt Prell
6’5, 200, TE
Kenosha, Wis.
Bradford HS

High School: Honorable mention all-conference as a senior after catching two passes for 29 yards and
making six tackles … lettered in football, baseball and competitive cheerleading … four-year member of
the school’s honor roll … head coach was Jed Kennedy

Personal: Parents are Andy and Susan Prell … volunteered during Downtown Marathon and at Taste of
Wisconsin … high school teammate of fellow recruit Vonte Jackson and current Badger Melvin Gordon

Jake Rademacher
6’2, 220, LB
Wales, Wis.
Kettle Moraine HS

High School: For his career, tallied 323 tackles, nine sacks, 30 tackles for loss, 11 forced fumbles and
one interception … Classic 8 Defensive Player of the Year, honorable mention all-state and first-team
All-Milwaukee as a senior … recorded 95 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 11 tackles for loss and six forced fumbles
on defense and rushed 15 times for 75 yards and one touchdown on offense … named first-team
all-conference, first-team all-county and honorable mention all-region as a junior after making 100
tackles, three sacks, nine TFLs, three forced fumbles and one interception … honorable mention all-
conference honors as a sophomore after picking up 73 tackles, two sacks, six TFLs and one forced
fumble … recorded 55 tackles, 1.5 sacks, four TFLs and one forced fumble as a freshman … two-time
team captain and team MVP … won four letters in football, three in lacrosse and one each in track and
field and wrestling … four-year member of the school’s honor roll … head coaches were Mike Fink (9-11)
and Darnell Wiltz (12)

Personal: Parents are Daniel and Christine Rademacher … uncle, Robert Blessington, played basketball
at UW-Stevens Point … brother, Ben, played football at UW-Stevens Point … volunteered at local food
drive and at his church … worked at youth football and lacrosse camps

Jack Russell
6’0, 160, K
Waunakee, Wis.
Waunkaee HS

High School: Four and a half star recruit by Kohl’s and two-star recruit by ESPN … No. 48 kicker in the
country by Kohl’s and No. 65 by ESPN … first-team all-state by WFCA and AP as a senior after making
69-of-70 PATs, 5-of-7 field goals and recording touchbacks on 68 of 82 on kickoffs … also a unanimous
first-team all-conference selection, first-team all-area and all-region … had 15 touchbacks as a junior on
kickoffs … four-year member of the school’s honor roll … head coach was Pat Rice

Personal: Parents are Bob and Beth Russell … volunteered at his church and at the local food pantry
… spoke to local elementary schools … high school teammate of fellow recruit Leo Musso and current
Badgers Austin Maly and Derek Straus

Logan Schmidt
6’5, 250, DE
Gotham, Wis.
Richland Center HS

High School: As a senior, named first-team all-state by the WFCA and second-team all-state by the AP
on the defensive line after making 148 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, 13 sacks and four forced fumbles …
also named first-team all-conference on both offensive and defensive lines and all-region … first-team
all-conference as a defensive lineman and second-team all-conference as an offensive lineman in junior
season … second-team all-conference as a defensive lineman as a sophomore two-time team captain
and team MVP … lettered four times in football and wrestling … two-time state qualifier in wrestling …
member of student council and National Honor Society … head coach was Greg Schoep

Personal: Parents are Randy and Shelly Schmidt

Alex Walker
6’5, 220, TE
Glendale, Wis.
Nicolet HS

High School: All-Conference honorable mention as a tight end in senior season after recording 19
receptions for 284 yards and a touchdown … as a defensive end, posted 35 tackles, nine tackles for loss,
three sacks and four pass breakups … also won team’s Black Lion Award for most sacrifice made for the
team … as a junior, caught 22 passes for 318 yards and a touchdown as a tight end and made 43 tackles
with seven TFLs, six sacks and three forced fumbles as a defensive end … won three letters in football,
two in baseball and swimming and one in track and field … head coach was Bradley Kozaczok

Personal: Parents are Harold and Susan Walker … grandfather, Robert Remstad, lettered in basketball at
Wisconsin in 1951 … volunteered as a coaching assistant for youth baseball and football camps and is an
Eagle Scout

Big Ten pulls plug on fall football amid COVID-19 concerns

Getty Images

The Big Ten won’t play football this fall because of concerns about COVID-19, becoming the first of college sports’ power conferences to yield to the pandemic.

The move announced Tuesday comes six day after the conference that includes historic programs such as Ohio State, Michigan, Nebraska and Penn State had released a revised conference-only schedule that it hoped would help it navigate a fall season with potential COVID-19 disruptions.

But it was not a surprise. Speculation has run rampant for several days that the Big Ten was moving toward this decision. On Monday, coaches throughout the conference tried to push back the tide, publicly pleading for more time and threatening to look elsewhere for games this fall.

“The mental and physical health and welfare of our student-athletes has been at the center of every decision we have made regarding the ability to proceed forward,” Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said in a statement. “As time progressed and after hours of discussion with our Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee, it became abundantly clear that there was too much uncertainty regarding potential medical risks to allow our student-athletes to compete this fall.”

The Big Ten touts itself as the oldest college athletic conference in the country, dating back to 1896 when it was called the Western Conference, and its schools have been playing football ever since. It became the Big Ten in 1918 and grew into a football powerhouse.

The 14 Big Ten schools span from Maryland and Rutgers on the East Coast to Iowa and Nebraska out west. Not only has it been one of the most successful conferences on the field but off the field it has become one of the wealthiest.

The Big Ten, with its lucrative television network, distributes about $50 million per year to its members.

Trump, coaches push for college football as cracks emerge


President Donald Trump joined a U.S. senator and a number of coaches Monday in the push to save the college football season from a pandemic-forced shutdown.

There was speculation that two of the five most powerful conferences — the Big Ten and the Pac-12 — might call off their seasons. Farther east, Old Dominion canceled fall sports and became the first school in the Bowl Subdivison to break from its league in doing so; the rest of Conference USA was going forward with plans to play.

A Big Ten spokesman said no votes had been taken by its presidents and chancellors on fall sports as of Monday afternoon and the powerful Southeastern Conference made clear it was not yet ready to shutter its fall season.

“Best advice I’ve received since COVID-19: ‘Be patient. Take time when making decisions. This is all new & you’ll gain better information each day,’” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey posted on Twitter. ”Can we play? I don’t know. We haven’t stopped trying.”

A growing number of athletes have spoken out about saving the season with Clemson star quarterback Trevor Lawrence among the group posting their thoughts on Twitter with the hashtag #WeWantToPla. Trump threw his support behind them Monday.

“The student-athletes have been working too hard for their season to be cancelled,” he tweeted.

Old Dominion has stopped trying. The Virginia school canceled football and other fall sports less than a week after Conference USA set out a plan to play a football season.

“We concluded that the season – including travel and competition – posed too great a risk for our student-athletes,” ODU President Broderick said.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh took a different stand, saying the Wolverines have shown players can be safe after they return to school.

“I’m not advocating for football this fall because of my passion or our players desire to play but because of the facts accumulated over the last eight weeks since our players returned to campus on June 13,” he wrote. “I am advocating on August 10 that this virus can be controlled and handled because of these facts.”

Sen. Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican, picked up on the safer-with-football theme in a letter to the presidents and chancellors of the Big Ten.

“Life is about tradeoffs. There are no guarantees that college football will be completely safe — that’s absolutely true; it’s always true,” he wrote. “But the structure and discipline of football programs is very likely safer than what the lived experience of 18- to 22-year-olds will be if there isn’t a season.”

“Here’s the reality: Many of you think that football is safer than no football, but you also know that you will be blamed if there is football, whereas you can duck any blame if you cancel football,” added Sasse, a former college president. “This is a moment for leadership. These young men need a season. Please don’t cancel college football.”

Players unite in push to save college season, create union


Michigan defensive back Hunter Reynolds saw the tweets from Trevor Lawrence and other college football players pushing for the opportunity to play this season despite the pandemic.

Reynolds, one of the organizers behind a players’ rights movement in the Big Ten, didn’t like the way some on social media seemed to be pitting Lawrence’s message against the efforts of #BigTenUnited and #WeAreUnited.

“There was a lot of division,” Reynolds told AP early Monday morning.

Reynolds got on a call with Lawrence and the star quarterback’s Clemson teammate, Darien Rencher, and within a matter of hours the summer of athlete empowerment found another gear.

College football players from across the country united Sunday in an attempt to save their season and ensure they will no longer be left out of the sport’s biggest decisions.

Lawrence, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, Oklahoma State All-America running back Chuba Hubbard, Alabama running back Najee Harris and numerous other players from Florida State to Oregon posted a graphic on social media with #WeWantToPlay and #WeAreUnited.

“We came to the conclusion, We Want to Play, their message might have been conveyed differently but at the end of the day the message wasn’t too far off from what Big Ten United wanted to promote,” Reynolds said. “Which is we all want to play sports this fall. Every athlete, I’m pretty sure, wants to play their sports. They just want to do so safely.”

The #WeAreUnited hashtag was used a week ago by a group of Pac-12 players in announcing a movement they say has the support of hundreds of peers within their conference. They have threatened mass opt-outs by players if concerns about COVID-19 protocols, racial injustice in college sports and economic rights for athletes are not addressed.

#BigTenUnited arrived on the scene a couple days later, a movement that claimed the backing off 1,000 Big Ten football players. Their demands were more targeted, strictly related to health and safety in dealing with COVID-19.

Sunday night, the call with Reynolds, Rencher and Lawrence led to a Zoom meeting — of course — with some of the Pac-12 players involved in “WeAreUnited.”

Washington State defensive lineman Dallas Hobbs got to work on a graphic and now the movement is officially nationwide.

“Just started bouncing ideas off each others’ heads and kind of discussing where we go from here and we ended up coming up with that statement,” said Reynolds, a senior from South Orange, New Jersey.

Under the logos of each Power Five conference — ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC — the players pronounced their platform:

— We all want to play football this season.

— Establish universal mandated health & safety procedures and protocols to protect college athletes against COVID-19 among all conferences throughout the NCAA.

— Give players the opportunity to opt out and respect their decision.

— Guarantee eligibility whether a player chooses to play the season or not.

— Use our voices to establish open communication and trust between players and officials: Ultimately create a College Football Players Association.

All of this capped a weekend during which the adults who run college sports seemed to be moving toward shutting it all down because of the pandemic.

A day after the Mid-American Conference became the first of the major college football leagues to cancel the fall season, Power Five conference commissioners met Sunday. They discussed mounting concerns about whether a season can be safely conducted with the pandemic still not under control in the United States.

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said no decisions on the season have been made, but conceded the outlook has not improved.

“Are we in a better place today than two weeks, ago? No, we’re not,” he said.

Bowlsby cited “growing evidence and the growing pool of data around myocarditis.”

Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart and it has been found in some COVID-19 patients. There is concern it could be a long-term complication of contracting the virus even in young, healthy people, a group that has usually avoided severe cardiovascular symptoms.

Also Sunday night, the Big Ten’s university presidents and chancellors held a previously unscheduled meeting, a person with knowledge of the meeting told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting was not announced by the conference.

Another person with direct knowledge of the meeting, speaking on condition of anonymity, said no votes were taken or decisions made about the college football season.

The final call on whether major college football will played this season rests in the hands of the university presidents who oversee the largest conferences.

With doom and gloom hanging over college football, Lawrence, who has become the face of the sport in a summer of strife, tried to push back the tide with a series of tweets.

“People are at just as much, if not more risk, if we don’t play,” Lawrence posted. “Players will all be sent home to their own communities where social distancing is highly unlikely and medical care and expenses will be placed on the families if they were to contract covid19.”

Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth had a similar message, and the parents of Ohio State football players weighed in, too.

Reynolds wants athletes to have a say in the meetings that are deciding the fate of their sports — starting now.

”All college athletes through unifying and not being afraid to speak our minds and having social media to kind of mobilize, I think that box on a Zoom call is something that is pretty attainable,” he said. “Especially, in the near future.”

After MAC surrenders to pandemic, will other leagues follow?

MAC football
Getty Images

In many ways, the Mid-American Conference has little in common with Power Five leagues that first come to mind when fans think of major college football.

There are no 75,000-seat stadiums in the MAC. Million-dollar per year coaches are rare. In a typical season, NFL scouts might find one or two potential first-round draft picks playing at the 12 MAC schools that dot the Midwest. The MAC’s biggest games — #MACtion, if you will — are often played on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Its television deal with ESPN pays per year only a few million more than the $9 million Clemson pays coach Dabo Swinney.

Still, the MAC is one of 10 conferences that competes in the NCAA’s highest level of football, and Saturday it became the first of those to surrender to the coronavirus pandemic and cancel the fall sports season.

So is the MAC an anomaly, done in by its small budgets or is this a dire sign of things to come in college football?

“I won’t try to judge what other folks are doing,” MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said. “I know we’re all in the same place. They all have their advisers. They’re going to make judgments based on the information they are receiving.”

Not long after the MAC announced it would explore second-semester seasons for all fall sports, including soccer and volleyball, the Big Ten made its own announcement that seemed ominous given the timing.

Tapping the brakes on football’s preseason, the Big Ten told its schools that until further notice full contact practices cannot begin. All teams will remain in the first two days of what is known as the “acclimatization period,” working out in just helmets. The first Big Ten games of the season are scheduled for Sept. 5.

“As we have consistently stated, we will continue to evaluate daily, while relying on our medical experts, to make the best decisions possible for the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes,” the Big Ten said in a statement.

The MAC’s schools were facing a significant financial burden by trying to maintain costly COVID-19 protocols, while also dealing with the uncertainty that campuses can be opened safely.

A move to the spring, however, could also be budget-buster if it means less revenue from the ESPN deal, which pays each school about $1 million per year, and football ticket sales. The MAC also shares about $90 million per year in College Football Playoff money with four other conferences.

“It would be naive to say that you don’t give thought and consideration to what the financial ramifications of any decision are, but this was a health and well-being decision first and foremost,” Steinbrecher said. “As we sit here today we don’t know what this will mean financially and how the rest of the fall plays out.”

Steinbrecher said the decision effects only fall sports, not basketball or others that begin in the second semester such as baseball, softball and lacrosse.

He added the decision was unanimous among the membership. Northern Illinois athletic director Sean Frazier, supported by NIU President Lisa Freeman, has been a vocal advocate of delaying the season.

“No one wants to have football or sports more than me,” said Frazier, who played football at Alabama in the late 1980s. “Football gave me all the opportunities I have today, but I can’t do it at the expense of people’s lives.”

Eastern Michigan athletic director Scott Wetherbee said he has been feeling a sense of inevitability for two weeks about the MAC canceling fall football, but can’t predict whether this decision trickles up to other conferences.

“Could it? Certainly. There’s certainly a narrative out there that could happen,” Wetherbee said. “No, it wouldn’t shock me if some followed suit. In fact, it would shock me if some didn’t.”

NCAA chief medical officer Brian Hainline made clear that even though plans for the football season have been adjusted to accommodate potential COVID-19 disruptions like the ones Major League Baseball has had, they are all still aspirational.

“Almost everything would have to be perfectly aligned to continue moving forward,” Hainline said Friday during the NCAA’s weekly video chat on social media.

As the Power Five conferences re-worked their schedules to play exclusively or mostly within their conferences, another of the MAC’s revenue streams dried up.

MAC schools, with athletic budgets in the $30 million range, rely heavily on payouts from road games against power conference teams. Kent State alone had more than $5 million in so-called guarantee games canceled. Whether they can be recouped and when is still to be determined. Without that revenue, the strain became too great of trying to keep players and staff safe during a pandemic.

“Certainly there was a cost attached to it,” Wetherbee said. “But as a league we were prepared to do it.”

The move to try spring football has already been going on in the second tier of Division I.

Nine of 13 conferences that play in the Championship Subdivision, have postponed fall football seasons. The first was the Ivy League in early July.

Now it’s the MAC, which was among the first conferences to limit fan access to its basketball tournament in March as concerns for the virus began to soar across the country. On March 12, the MAC was among many conferences to call off their tournaments hours before the NCAA canceled all of March Madness.

“If you told me in March we’d be here today,” Steinbrecher said, “I’d never have believed it”