The NFLPA will host its second annual Collegiate Bowl at the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles, Jan. 19. While there is no shortage of college postseason football games to showcase prospective NFL talent, the NFLPA's event is unique. Instead of simply being an "all-star" game, the Collegiate Bowl is designed to be an educational experience for NFL rookies. That education includes everything from keeping bankruptcy at bay to avoiding homophobic and sexist tweets.
“This game is not about the game itself," NFLPA assistant executive director of external affairs George Atallah told Outsports. "It’s a week-long experience for NFL prospects of what their experience as a professional is going to be like. It's part of their education. They don’t just learn what an NFL defensive scheme is going to look like, but also what their own personal defensive scheme might look like to protect themselves from financial mishap. They learn how to maximize their football careers into stuff beyond football.”
They'll also learn the ins and outs of social media, as part of a Digital Symposium presented by Blogs With Balls. The symposium is open to media professionals, and according to the BWB Web site: "The symposium will be a part of NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Media Day and will afford attendees media availability and meet & greet/interviews with Collegiate Bowl Coaches, Ambassadors, Players and NFLPA New Player Reps." I'll be speaking on one of the panels about how second screens and fan connectivity are changing the gameday experience. Registration for the symposium is free.
Some of the prospective NFL rookies already committed to the event include players from the Big 12, Pac-12, Big Ten and the SEC. There are also players from lesser-known schools like Fort Valley State WR Christopher Slaughter. Quarterbacks include Southern Utah's Brad Sorensen and Vanderbilt's Jordan Rodgers. The head coaches of the two Collegiate Bowl teams will be former NFL coaches Herm Edwards and Dick Vermeil.
Live practice sessions for the Collegiate Bowl will be broadcast on ESPNU the week of Jan. 14. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN2 on Jan. 19 at 6pmET. You can purchase tickets to the game for $15.