Some of their 'experts' have even been pushing for acceptance of 'would of' as a valid alternative to 'would have' or 'would've'.
But it doesn't mean anything! It's not, in any way, a valid sentence to say "I could of been a contender". What's the of bit mean, in that context? Of what? Absolutely nothing.
It's just a stupid way of representing how most people speak, without any understanding of the actual words they are speaking.
If people were actually taught nowadays that could've is a contraction of the words could and have then maybe they would learn to write it correctly.