Formal discussions between leaders from the Pac-12's #WeAreUnited campaign and representatives for the conference will begin Thursday night, a source familiar with the discussions told ESPN.
Leaders from the players' group accepted Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott's proposal to meet with him, Arizona State athletic director Ray Anderson, Utah athletic director Mark Harlan, assistant Pac-12 commissioner and liaison to student-athlete groups Chris Merino in a video conference call at 8 p.m. PT., the source said.
Scott's offer to begin discussions comes three days after the #WeAreUnited group initially reached out to him, asking for daily video calls to begin Monday, to discuss several demands listed in an article published on The Players' Tribune. Those demands are said to have come on behalf of hundreds of Pac-12 football players and are related to concern over the risks of COVID-19 in current conditions on campuses and how those conditions are related "to the systemic racial injustices imposed by NCAA sports that disproportionately exploits Black athletes physically, academically, and financially."
The players have expressed a willingness to opt out of practice and games if their demands are not met.
Players from the Big Ten joined the Pac-12 players Wednesday, by publishing a separate, similar set of demands mostly related to the coronavirus pandemic.
"As described in my email to you on Monday, the Pac-12 Medical Advisory Committee guidelines make clear that in all instances, return to sporting activity must be in accordance with local and state public health officials' recommendations," Scott wrote Wednesday. "Our universities will follow the advice of public health officials and the recommendations of our medical advisory committee, with the health and safety of our student-athletes being our No. 1 priority."
Scott included six bulleted paragraphs in the email related to the conference's coronavirus protocols as background to prepare for the call; however, like his initial response Monday, he did not address the group's proposal for a drastic reduction to his own salary and the distribution of 50% of each sport's total conference revenue evenly among athletes in their respective sports.
In a call Wednesday with the Pac-12's Student-Athlete Leadership Team, which is part of the Pac-12's governance structure and comprised of athletes from every school across several sports, Scott implied the #WeAreUnited group's economic demands were unrealistic and a non-starter, according to multiple sources familiar with the call.