At the end of Athabasca University’s first year as the official education partner of the CFL, we can say it has so far been a resounding success!
Athabasca University (AU) and the Canadian Football League Players’ Association (CFLPA) have had a relationship for nearly six years. Players both past and present have access to flexible university-level education that fits around their extremely busy schedules.
At AU, we understand the challenges that professional athletes face as they work towards completing their university education. Things like busy schedules, the threat of beings traded to another city, or possibly being injured, don’t leave much time to attend traditional classes.
Enter the CFL
We’ve been working closely with the CFL and league affiliates for over five years, so it was especially exciting to expand our relationship to partnership status in June of this year.
Becoming the Official Education Partner of the CFL enables AU to align with an organization that is committed to expanding opportunities beyond the game for players and fans in Canada and around the world.
Moving ‘Beyond the Game’ both the CFL and AU recognize that no matter where a person is in their life, it’s important to look to the future, beyond what is happening right now. Whether it’s a single online course or a full program, AU empowers learners to realize their educational goals, beyond borders and barriers.
With this newly enhanced partnership, AU and the CFL are working closely together to deepen their connection through fan-facing initiatives throughout the season, playoffs, and Grey Cup.
Time to tailgate
Over the three days of Grey Cup weekend, AU joined the CFLPA at their Players Headquarters. Players, fans, and learners mingled and enjoyed giveaways, meeting players, and, of course, AU also hosted a ‘Tailgate with the President.’ Dr. Neil Fassina connected with AU team members, while also introducing the CFLPA relationship to players who were very impressed by their ability to study while playing.
The Friday evening saw us host our annual Campus Party, where AU learners, alumni, CFL players and player alumni were invited to get together and share their love of football and all things AU.
To cap the weekend off before heading to the Grey Cup game, AU was excited to once again sponsor the CFLPA’s Kids Camp. More than 20 CFL players ran young football fans through interactive football drills, motivating them with inspiring messages about the importance of continued learning and to think about long term goals and successes. It was touching to see these future learners meet at a place where sport transcends the game.
Beyond the Game
We saw a truly ‘Beyond the Game’ philosophy from fans and players in the CFL, and we enjoyed sharing how Athabasca University helps enable people to transform lives and transform communities.
It was very rewarding to meet CFL players and fans—and soon-to-be learners at AU—to discuss the partnership and how our flexible and adaptable learning model lends itself to busy lifestyles.
This came full circle when a lucky fan at the Grey Cup won a free course from Athabasca University—and AUxCFL swag for their whole section!
And this is just the beginning. See you on the field next year!