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A Pac-12 College Football Player On This Season's Tenuous Prospects

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Are we going to have college football this fall or not? It is August 10, and it is still up in the air. Today the Mountain West Conference announced postponement of its football season. The Mid-American Conference did the same over the weekend. But the five biggest conferences are still in talks over whether to keep their plans for a shortened season or cancel fall football. As for the players, a lot of them want to play. Some do not because of health concerns. Some are threatening to boycott unless their conference agrees to certain demands. Well, let's bring in one of the players involved in the debate, Washington State defensive lineman Dallas Hobbs.

Dallas Hobbs, welcome.

DALLAS HOBBS: Thanks for having me today.

KELLY: So what do you think needs to happen? I mean, just lay out what your specific ask is before you go out, before other players go out on that field and play this fall.

HOBBS: Our biggest ask was we wanted the conference to put some really strict health and safety guidelines out there that are really uniform, and it's not a school-by-school basis. And if the conference isn't able to do that, we want to be able to bring in a third party that can really monitor it at each school and make sure this is a plan, and this is what we're going to follow, you know? We're going to have uniform testing 'cause some schools, it's every other week's being - some schools, it's weekly. Some schools, they've only been tested twice since we got on campus in June, so they've only been tested two times. And that's really where that concern comes 'cause, you know, eventually, we have to go out and play each other. And that's where the unknown happens.

KELLY: So you're calling for - there need to be rules, and they need to be rules. They need to be mandatory and enforced, and they need to apply to everybody. Y'all have also called for players who do want to opt out - for their status and eligibility to be protected.

HOBBS: Yep, exactly. So there's no eligibility plan put in place right now. We don't know if we play four games and they say that's it for the season - do we get that season back? Do we get our eligibility back? Or if the season's canceled completely - now the NCA (ph) put in place that all conferences have to let the athletes know by August 14 if their eligibility is going to be intact or not. But, you know, who knows? - 'cause now they're talking about the season ending within the next few days.

KELLY: And to just get the headline of what happened last night, this was that players from the five major conferences came out and said, we want to form a union.

HOBBS: Exactly. I think we are now all on the same page. And we put our graphic out that I helped create.

KELLY: Well, stay with that for a second. You designed the graphic that spelled out the demands from the players. I saw your tweet saying you only had 20 minutes to do it. Tell me what happened.

HOBBS: Yeah, because our initial plan was we were going to release it at 10 a.m. Eastern Time. So I was like, hey, I got all night to make this thing. But then someone chimed in and said, hey, Big Ten and - conferences might cancel tomorrow morning. Then we're like, oh, we should probably put it out before then. So then I just ran upstairs, you know, got all my assets together and all my designs and really started cranking it out. You know, it wasn't the best thing I wanted to make. You know, I could definitely touch it up. But I mean, I think it did the job. And we are all together, and we're united.

KELLY: What you came up with has across the top #weareunited, #wewanttoplay. I'm guessing that sums up where you are. You want to play.

HOBBS: Exactly. And the season may get canceled this year, maybe pushed to the spring, but at least we can really start those talks. And hopefully by this time in the spring, we can really have some guidelines in place and have some things established to make it successful that we can all play.

KELLY: But what is the timing for those biting their fingernails, waiting to see if there's going to be football this fall? There are reports that we may get some kind of announcement as soon as tomorrow, Tuesday, that it's all off.

HOBBS: Yeah. Right now it's really an hour-by-hour thing, you know? It's interesting to say the least.

KELLY: That is Washington State junior and defensive lineman Dallas Hobbs.

Thanks again.

HOBBS: Of course. I really appreciate being on here, you know? Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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