Big Ten players seek share of media revenue deal

Sports

(NewsNation) — The Big Ten college football conference is poised to strike one of the biggest media deals ever for college sports, and now, players are banding together to get what they consider their share of the revenue.

“There is a massive, massive, massive media rights deal on the table that players will see none of, unless people do something about it,” Justin Falcinelli, a former Clemson football player, said Monday on “NewsNation Prime.”

Falcinelli is a member of the College Football Players Association, created last year to help players organize and fight for their rights. He and members of the organization had been meeting, secretly, with members of the Penn State football team, and came up with a list of demands for the Big Ten, including a share of the media revenue.

While the NCAA prohibits athletes from receiving salaries for playing sports at their school, players became eligible last year to start making money off their name, image and likeness. But this is different, with athletes seeking a slice of their schools’ share in the media deal, which could be worth up to $100 million per school.

“We have incredible buy-in from the team there and still do,” Falcinelli said of the organization’s efforts at Penn State. “We really believe the majority of the team believes in what we are doing and believes in an outside player-run organization to help with these negotiations.”

Jason Stahl, executive director of the organization, said he had spoken and negotiated with Kevin Warren of the Big Ten, which invited him to the Big Ten media days in Indianapolis. But that changed abruptly this past weekend, when Stahl said he was told by email that the Big Ten would “not be able to accommodate the CFBPA’s request (for) attendance in Indianapolis.”

Warren did not respond to requests for comment. But in a statement over the weekend, Warren said the conference is in the process of creating a student-athlete advisory committee “to seek input … about the changing landscape of college athletics.”

“This is about the players getting a seat at the table,” Stahl said. “We’re going to create a movement to do it one way or the other.”

Stahl says they are not a players union, but just might go that route.

“I’ve been at this for eight years,” Stahl said. “I’m not giving up.”

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