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What the Hell are You Doing?
Reminders Regarding the College Football Players Association
This is a free online newsletter for Jason Stahl, Executive Director of the College Football Players Association (CFBPA). If you are a member of the general public who would like to financially support our efforts at the CFBPA you can do that here. If you are a past, present or future college football player, I ask that you consider becoming a member of the CFBPA.
I recently had the pleasure of sitting in on a Sports Management class at the University of Michigan and the professor for the class led with a very direct question: “Just what the hell are you doing, Jason?” I’ve received this one before, but not in such a public forum and I gave the same three-part answer I always do in response (see below). However, it reminded me once again that much of the world of college athletics is still coming to understand who we are and what it is that we are doing at the College Football Players Association.
There are many more people reading this newsletter since the end of July and so, in light of this classroom interaction and my new readership, I thought it would be useful once again to issue some basic reminders about the CFBPA. We have several things in the works for the coming offseason and so now is also a good time to hit the reset button and once again give everyone a reminder of what we are and what we are tying to do at the CFBPA.
First and foremost, we’re creating a member-driven players association that brings together past, present and future college football players. In this way, we’re using the CFBPA to create a new community of people who, as of right now, are largely disconnected from one another. Some current and former players undoubtedly feel connected to their own college program, but that is about it. What we’re doing at the CFBPA is getting them to feel connected to players and former players at other programs. I’ve seen this start to happen in the first year of our existence and seeing the institution facilitate these new kinds of connections sustains the work I’m doing on a daily basis.
Key to creating this new type of institution is voluntary membership for players at any level of play. For our High School Members and our Current Player Members, dues are only $1 per year as we want to be in service to these players and not make any money off their labor. Our Alumni Members — available to anyone who has ever played the game in the past — help to create a sustainable grass-roots funding base for the entire institution. As such, we have dues of $50 per year for Alumni Members. Combined with our Lifetime Members and donations from members of the general public, we seek to create a truly grass-roots sustainable financial base for the CFBPA.
Secondly, we are seeking to use our membership base to implement our Platform for Change. Our six-point Platform for Change was developed by myself and our player Leadership Committee this year. As you will see, the first three planks are related to the health, safety and welfare of players and former players. When talking about these planks with members of the general public, many have expressed shock that such measures have not already been implemented by the NCAA and/or conferences. The fact of the matter is that they haven’t and so these health and safety measures are exactly why an independent players association is needed.
The remainder of the Platform for Change focuses on the need for players to have a share of the revenue they generate. It also focuses on the need for players to have a seat at the table when discussing any changes to the game. Finally, it focuses on the fact that players no longer have an offseason and that one is desperately needed to allow for time away from the work of football.
Finally, we seek to use any means at our disposal to implement our Platform for Change. If you look closely at our platform and the way that it is worded, you’ll see that there are any number of ways we could work to implement its planks. Some of the planks could be worked towards directly by the CFBPA independently of the NCAA, the conferences or individual programs. With all of them, we could work directly with any program, coach or conference at voluntary implementation of one or more planks. Finally, and most obviously, we could work with any player at any Power Five program to unionize their team and/or conference to implement the platform. In this final case, we’d work to write the platform into a legally-binding and enforceable collective bargaining agreement.
In whatever way we implement our Platform for Change, the goal is always the same: to improve the lives of college football players past, present and future. The only way to do this is to organize the players and harness their power into the CFBPA. If you are a past, present or future player of college football, I urge you to become a member today at this link to become part of this power base.