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Reports: Penn State Football Players Forming First Chapter Of ‘Independent Players Association’

Update, 7:40 p.m.: Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford released a statement Friday night in response to the reports about Penn State football’s involvement with the College Football Players Association.

“It is important to state that my dialogues with my coach, athletic director and commissioner were conducted as a student-athlete,” Clifford wrote. “To characterize my dialogues as being on behalf of a union or as a union member would be inaccurate.”

“In the last 90 days, the CFBPA presented interesting ideas to me and my teammates with the goal of joining their college football players’ association,” he continued. “However, at this time, I along with many players are committed to working at the campus and conference level to address the complexities of collegiate athletics for student-athletes.”

Penn State Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Patrick Kraft sent out a statement, too, expressing his confidence in Clifford when it comes to “some of the major issues in intercollegiate athletics.”

“Over the course of several conversations in recent weeks with Sean Clifford, he has shared with me his desire to explore pathways to improve the student-athlete experience for all student-athletes in the Big Ten,” Kraft said. “Sean is a tremendous young man who is educating himself on some of the major issues in intercollegiate athletics. Last week, I suggested to him that I connect him with Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren to have a broader conversation on the student-athlete experience, and I hope they both have found those conversations to be beneficial.”

“I am supportive of — and take great pride in — student-athletes using their voices to affect positive change in all areas of life,” he continued.

Original Story: Spearheaded by quarterback Sean Clifford, Penn State football players reportedly will launch the first chapter of an independent players association through the College Football Players Association.

In an exclusive interview with social welfare organization More Perfect Union, Clifford went public Friday with his apparent reasoning to form this new association.

“It’s all about two things: the players that are here currently — seeing how football wears on them — and then, secondly, the players that have came and gone,” Clifford said. “Being a leader for them is very important to me.”

More Perfect Union noted that Penn State’s players are seeking revenue sharing and better medical care. Reporter Jordan Zakarin wrote on Twitter that “all” of the Nittany Lions’ leadership team is on board and that discussions with Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren are underway.

After originally reporting that Penn State players were forming a “union,” More Perfect Union backtracked and rather called this new organization an “association to represent players’ interests” but that unionization is still a future possibility.

ESPN’s Dan Murphy corroborated this report on Twitter and clarified that the use of the term “union” is inaccurate. Murphy wrote that “leaders of an independent players association” met with Warren and did not mention Penn State.

The College Football Players Association (CFPA) launched in July 2021 to “engage in nationwide advocacy for the rights of college football players.” Clifford is not a member of the CFPA leadership team. The organization wrote on Twitter that Murphy’s report is a “full and correct version of the story.”

Penn State Athletics did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

We will update this story as more information becomes available.

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About the Author

Ryan Parsons

Ryan is a redshirt senior majoring in business and journalism from "Philadelphia" and mostly writes about football nowadays. You can follow him on Twitter @rjparsons9 or say hi via email at [email protected].

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