Eight Nebraska football players have officially taken legal action against the Big Ten.
In a 13-page lawsuit filed Thursday in the Lancaster County (Neb.) District Court by attorney Mike Flood, Nebraska football players Garrett Snodgrass, Garrett Nelson, Ethan Piper, Noa Pola-Gates, Alante Brown, Brant Banks, Brig Banks and Jackson Hannah called for the court to “declare invalid the Big Ten's purported decision to cancel the 2020 fall Big Ten football season,” to “award temporary and permanent injunctive relief, including an Order enjoining the Big Ten from implementing and enforcing its decision,” and to “award nominal damages for breach of contract and tortious interference.”
“This lawsuit isn't about money or damages, it's about real-life relief,” Flood wrote in a letter accompanying the lawsuit. “These student athletes have followed all the precautions, underwent regular testing, and lived according to the prescribed guidelines of the world-class experts at UNMC all for the chance to play football in September. On August 11th, six days after announcing the fall football schedule, a decision was made to cancel everything with vague reasoning and no explanation. 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 a decision.
“Sadly, these student athletes have no recourse other than filing a lawsuit against their conference. The Presidents and Chancellors of these Universities have taken inconsistent positions about whether there was a vote, and they have largely failed to explain what positions they took. Our Clients must take their claims to the Courthouse to find the justice and fairness they have been denied.”
The Big Ten responded in a statement by saying that the lawsuit “has no merit,” and that the conference “will defend the decision to protect all student-athletes as we navigate through this global pandemic.”
During the initial court appearance to make a motion for limited expedited discovery on Thurdsay afternoon, District Court Judge Susan Strong gave the Big Ten until 5 p.m. Monday to file a written brief in response, according to Husker Online's Sean Callahan.
The Big Ten is being represented in court by defense attorney Andrew Luger, a former U.S. Attorney for the state of Minnesota.
Big Ten attorney Andrew Luger argues the "harm would be incredible" if board of directors documents were made available to the public just because eight student-athletes disagree with the decision. He said the court is asking for something with "no precedent."— Sean Callahan (@Sean_Callahan) August 27, 2020
Big Ten attorney Andrew Luger argues counsel is stating if "the Big Ten can prove there was a vote the whole case goes away."— Sean Callahan (@Sean_Callahan) August 27, 2020