On Friday, Penn State Athletic Director Patrick Kraft issued a statement supporting Sean Clifford spearheading the Independent Players Association.
In his statement, he said Kraft himself connected with Penn State commissioner Kevin Warren to have a conversation about improving the student-athlete experience while playing and after playing college football.
Statement from Penn State AD Pat Kraft, via university spokesperson: pic.twitter.com/XnGT0eJrC9
— Nate Bauer (@NateBauerBWI) July 22, 2022
Kraft also talked about how supportive and takes great pride in student-athletes using their voice and platform to effect change in all areas of life.
Clifford also made a statement via Twitter that he had discussions with Kraft, Warren, and head coach James Franklin about the changing landscape of college athletics and how they will affect student-athletes now and in the future.
He then talked about working with his team and conference about addressing the complexities of playing college sports, and finally, he spoke about how blessed to have a team, university, and conference that has the leadership to have an open mind to improve the college experience.
— Sean Clifford (@seancliff14) July 22, 2022
Honestly, this is refreshing to see and hear because not too many athletic directors, especially in their first month on the job would openly support student-athletes speak about creating an organization to improve the student-athlete experience. It was unthinkable until recently that student-athletes have even a threat of a union, universities would have to come out of pocket for medical costs, negotiate sports-related income, and other things that professional athletes collectively bargain.
However, in my opinion, due to the NIL, a union in sports like college football and basketball is inevitable. The Big Ten on their next television deal is due to get almost $2 billion annually, that amounts to $ 125 million per school, and players in college have the same risks as professional athletes, even with the NIL agreement most of these players will be making way less than they deserve, and Clifford is one of the first people to take the initiative and realize that fact.