College Athletes Can Unionize

"Northwestern University football players are employees of the school and are therefore entitled to a union election, Peter Sung Ohr, the regional director of the National Labor Relations Board, said in a ruling released Wednesday afternoon.

The stunning decision has the potential to alter dramatically the world of big-time college sports in which the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the universities strike the deals and set the rules, exerting control over the activities of the players known as “student athletes.”"
http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/chi-northwestern-union-bid-20140326,0,6454823.story

I think it is very unfair that college coaches can make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year–while the players make a minute fraction of this. So I think this is a good decision.

A better link: http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/26/us/northwestern-football-union/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

Thought I heard somebody shitting in their pants… :wink:

TERRIBLE!!! Athletics is a PRIVILEGE, NOT a RIGHT!!! I’ll boycott college sports if/when this becomes widesporead.

I can’t tell if you’re joking, etv.

Deadly serious.

While the view that “athletics is a privilege” is absurd, this is a bad decision. I’m slowly switching sides on this issue that athletes should get paid, but this opens some pretty major pandora’s boxes. Does this mean all scholarship recipients are school employees? This could jeopardize negative-income sports, to the point that it won’t be worth the hassle to offer even partial scholarships to the olympic sports.

Why is the idea of extra curriculars being a privilege absurd? The fact that it will cause such a Title IX headache is yet another reason I’m shocked it got this far.

Oh yeah. Every single person on that football field or around the basketball court is being paid. Coaches, refs, trainers, the people doing stats, peanut vendors, etc… everyone except the players and cheerleaders.

My ultimate wish is this will lead to colleges dropping all sports and those teams becoming private teams.

Actually this might turn into a boon (or bust Im not sure) for title 9. Lets say the football players unionize. Football goes private. That frees up 50 full scholarships. Now those might go to the many mens sports which over the years that have been dropped (ex. wrestling, water polo, tennis) or possible to more womens.

Or they just drop all athletic scholarships.

Hopefully this results in a clearer understanding of how much money college athletics makes or loses.

It seems crazy to pay athletes when athletic programs are already losing money and pulling from tuition costs to make up the difference. Even for the most profitable sports (football and basketball) about half the schools lose money, and almost all of them lose millions when you take into account all the other low-profit-potential sports. At least, that’s the information we are currently given.

The only solution may be for the sports to go private. Paying the profitable athletes what they are worth is fair. But it seems impossible to do that for current college sports due to both the rules, and the required increase in already exorbitant tuition.

How has that anything to do with determining an employer/employee relationship?

This thing is going to the Supreme Court so anything said now is mere speculation, but one point I found particularly compelling is their argument that the players are not selected for their academic ability but solely based upon their ability to play football, with scholarships being given out based upon that ability. Had the school merely recruited its team from among the already-extant student body (all selected based upon their academic records, presumably), the kids would have less of a case, imho.

These scholarships are themselves “pay”, and the fact that some players are “paid” and some are not must also have been of interest to the NLRB. (I have not read the whole decision.)

I’m not sure I understand. Having a job is a privilege and not a right, too. How does the distinction between rights and privileges play into your reasoning?

That was my first thought, BUT…

If you get an academic scholarship simply to attend the university as a student (rather than as an athlete), then your scholarship is based on the educational mission of the university, not on something that you do in addition to your studies. That might make a difference to the NLRB definitions.

Also, the decision seems to carve out a distinction between big-time moneymaking sports like football and other sports like athletics:

I think that most of this is pretty indisputable when it comes to Division 1A football (and basketball). I’m not expert on other NCAA sports like athletics or swimming, but i’d be surprised if they fall quite as squarely into the “economic relationship” category.

If it’s crazy to pay athletes, then why is it acceptable to pay coaches and trainers and athletic directors, etc? Ohio State can come up with $4 million to pay Urban Meyer or Alabama is able to come up with $7 million to pay Nick Saban, but their players will break the bank? I don’t buy it.

$2.55 million a year pays a $30,000 stipend to all 85 football players on scholarship. That could come right out of the coach’s and AD’s salaries at a lot of places and those guys would still be making a ton. Schools just need to re-allocate to be no worse off than they are now.

Somehow that idea turns a lot of people apoplectic. Personally, I think those guys should get paid more like the rest of the faculty and top school administrators.

That’s not what he said, though. Ohio St. and Alabama are not the arguments against this. Buffalo and North Texas and Utah St. are. Small, low budget schools that struggle to recruit both coaches and players, where letting schools pay athletes to play for them would essentially just drive them out of business, or at least out of competition.

Is it necessarily bad that they will be driven out of competition?

Because they are participating in something outside the mission of a university? :rolleyes:

Agree completely! Until recently I assumed that athletes were qualified to attend the schools they were playing for.