Big Ten players, Commissioner discuss improving benefits
By: Mike Stiles - Tuesday, July 26, 2022

(photo courtesy of Big Ten Conference)

(UNDATED) - Big Ten football players have had conversations with league commissioner Kevin Warren 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. Warren issued a statement later Friday saying that the Big Ten has, indeed, started "the process of formalizing the Big Ten Student-Athlete Advisory Committee to seek input from our student-athletes, including Sean Clifford, about the changing landscape of college athletics." He added that the conference "has not had any negotiations with the CFBPA, or any players' organization, and do not have any scheduled." A spokesperson for the Big Ten had earlier confirmed the commissioner spoke with players and separately with Jason Stahl, the founder and executive director of the College Football Players Association (CFBPA). Clifford and Stahl met this summer and formed a plan to organize players in the Big Ten to ask the league for improvements in medical care and a share of future revenue. Clifford said thus far his conversations with Warren have focused on standardized medical care for players after their college careers have come to an end. He said Warren and leaders at Penn State have been receptive to the initial conversations about how to make a variety of improvements for players and former players. 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.