If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s… “a collective group coming together“.
Big Ten football players have had conversations with league commissioner Kevin Warren this week about giving athletes a bigger voice in the future and about improving a variety of benefits for players. Warren also spoke with the leader of a nascent players’ association about the possibility of having an independent group represent the players in conversations with the league.
Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford said the conversations with Warren have been a positive, collaborative start to giving players a seat at the table in future decisions with the league. He said he and the other players he has spoken with have no intention of creating a union or entering a contentious negotiation with the league at this point.
Sure, Sean. “At this point” sounds like it might be doing some heavy lifting there, but let’s give you the benefit of the doubt.
Stahl spoke to Warren earlier this week about a trio of initial topics the CFBPA wants to negotiate with the Big Ten:
• A representative on each campus who can advocate for players during medical situations or other disputes. The representative would be hired by the CFBPA and serve an on-site role similar to the player representatives in professional sports unions.
• Funds from the conference to purchase medical insurance policies for former players that would cover the treatment of injuries from their college football careers.
• A to-be-determined percentage of media rights revenue for players.
A representative from the Big Ten confirmed that Warren spoke to Stahl but said to characterize their conversation as the beginning of any type of collective bargaining discussion is not accurate.
Sure, sure. Just a couple of dudes casually shooting the breeze with each other.
Clifford said he wasn’t yet ready to have a conversation about what players would do if the Big Ten is unwilling to make significant changes, because so far their conversations have been positive.
“We want to have a conversation we’ve never had before,” Clifford said. “Those three things are just the base of what we’d like to do. In reality, we think there is more that could happen. I could see a lot of changes being made moving forward. Realistically, the work force should have a voice at this point.”
“The work force”. Meet the new “student-athlete” euphemism.
Stahl said if the Big Ten does not make significant progress on doing more for players, he believes the organization’s next step is to register as a 501(c)(5) labor organization and potentially begin the process of becoming a union.
There it is!