S6:EP9- Michael Hsu, College Basketball Players Association

Join us for S6:EP9 of the Sports Philanthropy Podcast as Michael Hsu, Co-Founder of the College Basketball Players Association (CBPA) sits down with our host; Roy Kessel to share his life story, and how the CBPA engages in nationwide advocacy for the rights of college basketball players and their health, safety and welfare when it comes to having a voice within their sport.

Growing up in Ames, IA, Michael Hsu played every sport as a child, before a neck injury while playing football in the 9th grade forced him to step away from many of those activities. Michael then turned to swimming as his main sporting activity, and was on the State championship team. Michael decided to major in Electrical Engineering in college, and also study Management Consulting, where he started multiple tech companies post college. Michael then ended up on the Board of Regents at University of Minnesota, involved in boycotts of practices and students not feeling as if they were treated fairly. He published an article in Deadspin on theory that Universities and students should be offered and receive the total cost of attendance. During the pandemic, college players wanted to have a voice and play their respective sport, which led to Michael co-founding the College Basketball Players Association.

As Co-Funder of the CBPA, Michael helps ensure that College Basketball players everywhere are organized to have a collective voice in the decision-making within their sport, making it eminent that each and every college basketball student athlete has a voice and gets the chance at being financially compensated based on the attendance that they form.

In 2021, Jennifer Brusso sent a letter that states in order to unionize, you have to be employees first. The NLRB has decided not to take a look at the employee issue, and the letter has not gotten a response yet. There are 500,000 college athletes, and all athletes have been filed for. The term Student-athlete was created as a way to avoid liability for injury/death/disability, and the letter wanted to create a term that took athletes out of employee status. 

The College Basketball Players Association was founded to serve current, former and future college basketball players; and will continue to push in order to ensure that college basketball players have fair access to their rights and freedom when it comes to the health and safety risk that they put on and off the court.

Michael Hsu, College Basketball Players Association
Michael Hsu, College Basketball Players Association

Highlights of Michael’s Podcast

  • 00:00 Introduction
  • 1:00 70-year misclassification issue
  • 2:30 Sports when growing up
  • 5:00 Persevering through injuries and turning to swimming
  • 7:00 Early career after college
  • 10:00 How athletes are perceived
  • 14:00 How the concept of the CBPA started
  • 17:00 Starting the CFPA and shortly after creating the CBPA
  • 19:00 In order to unionize you have to be employees first
  • 23:00 The law behind college basketball players and employment
  • 26:00 Revenue athletes vs non-revenue athletes
  • 27:00 Is the use of the term student athletes an unfair label
  • 32:00 Making money on your individual likeliness
  • 33:00 Redefining a system where college athletes are close to being employees but not technically employees.

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Michael Hsu, College Basketball Players Association
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Nicolas Robinson

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