Eight football players from Nebraska filed a lawsuit against the Big Ten seeking to reverse the conference’s decision to postpone the upcoming fall season, according to a 13-page complaint document obtained by Evan Bland of the Omaha World-Herald.
The lawsuit also seeks more clarity on how the Big Ten leadership arrived at the conclusion not to play in 2020, Bland adds. It outlines three counts against the conference: wrongful interference with business expectations, breach of contract, and declaratory judgment.
The student-athletes reportedly want the conference’s decision to be overturned as it didn’t follow the proper procedures in the decision-making process and was “unjustified” based on incorrect medical information.
The football players involved are linebackers Garrett Snodgrass, Garrett Nelson, and Jackson Hannah, offensive linemen Ethan Piper and Brant Banks, safety Noa Pola-Gates, wide receiver Alante Brown, and long snapper Brig Banks.
The players’ attorney, Mike Flood, said the lawsuit “isn’t about money or damage, it’s about real-life relief” after the student-athletes followed all the university’s COVID-19 protocols and guidelines during the offseason with the expectation of playing football this fall.
“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,” Flood said. “Sadly, these student-athletes have no other recourse than filing a lawsuit against their conference.”
The Big Ten’s attorney, Andrew Luger, said the court is demanding something with “no precedent,” according to Huskeronline.com’s Sean Callahan. He added the “harm would be incredible” if documents from the board of directors were revealed to the public because eight players disagreed with the conference’s decision.
Last week, 11 families of Nebraska football players sent an open letter to Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren demanding answers from the conference regarding the postponement of fall sports. The parents group includes the families of Snodgrass, Hannah, Nelson, Piper, and the Banks brothers.
The Big Ten was one of two Power 5 conferences (Pac-12) to cancel the upcoming fall football season this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. They are now exploring the possibility of playing the slate in the spring.
Meanwhile, the SEC, Big 12, and ACC are set to play football in September under adjusted schedules.