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GA Russell

Northwestern football team seeks to unionize

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I didn't see this coming. I don't know anything about labor law. I suppose the matter may hinge on the definition of an employee.

http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/10363430/outside-lines-northwestern-wildcats-football-players-trying-join-labor-union

There's a lot more over at the Trib. Now they claim they are only interested in shoring up access to medical coverage but also to have more say over scholarship guarantees, which is a pretty huge red flag. I would be awfully surprised if they succeeded, not least of which is that Northwestern is a completely private university. They might have had more success starting this movement at a public university.

I generally don't think student players should be unionized, but realize there are plenty of problems with the status quo.

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As an actual Desired Outcome, it's pretty stupid. But as an opening gambit/bargaining chip, hey, well-played if they got the guts to play it till it bleeds.

Does the NCAA really want that whole "they're not employees, they don't get paid" thing to gain traction? Like they want that can of worms getting opened.

I can never tell how smart and/or sane people really are when they open like this until it comes time to make a deal.

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I generally don't think student players should be unionized...

Just out of curiosity, why not? If they figure they're getting a raw deal, why not band together (they are a team, after all) to try to rectify it?

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I generally don't think student players should be unionized...

Just out of curiosity, why not? If they figure they're getting a raw deal, why not band together (they are a team, after all) to try to rectify it?

I think the practical logistics will be a problem. What if the players union at some point decides that they will only compete against other unionized teams? I really hate the emphasis many unions have on work rules, and think this would eventually creep in here as well. But mostly despite all the issues involved with being student-athletes, they still are students and I don't think undergraduate students should be in unions,

Conversely, if this movement really took off, it would probably at some point doom college sports at smaller universities. And this is something that I would like to see.

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That's interesting that you say that, ejp. I'm just fine with athletics at the small schools without scholarships. It's the situation at the big universities that I would like to see changed, because I think that many of their players are not students.

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Maybe I'm getting old and crotchety, but I have a hard time thinking of football players at major football universities as "students". Let's be honest; the money (mainly big name donors) don't give a rat's ass if these people graduate, or even attend real classes. They have a rare talent level, and that talent is exploited in exchange for dubious scholarships that they don't even want. They go along because currently it's the only path to the NFL.

I'll admit, my solution to all of this would be to force the NFL and NBA to get off the gravy train and provide their own minor league system.

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Maybe I'm getting old and crotchety, but I have a hard time thinking of football players at major football universities as "students". Let's be honest; the money (mainly big name donors) don't give a rat's ass if these people graduate, or even attend real classes. They have a rare talent level, and that talent is exploited in exchange for dubious scholarships that they don't even want. They go along because currently it's the only path to the NFL.

I'll admit, my solution to all of this would be to force the NFL and NBA to get off the gravy train and provide their own minor league system.

Yes, I would prefer a minor league system and getting major athletics out of universities. The problem is that state legislatures have proven over the past 10 years to be such lousy stewards of their systems that this would probably be the last straw. Half of them probably only supply any state funds at all just so they can root for the teams. It's a sad state, but it is what it is.

If the unionization thing really took off, the economics are such that these guarantees they are seeking over medical benefits and scholarships would probably force all the non-revenue producing sports to simply shut down.

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This will go through the courts and colleges and the NCAA will no doubt prevail for a while. But eventually it will happen.

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This will go through the courts and colleges and the NCAA will no doubt prevail for a while. But eventually it will happen.

Given how anti-union most southern states are, I expect they would rather dump their sports programs and force things along into the minor league system. (Yes, those minor leaguers would be unionized, but it wouldn't be a union at the very heart of their state university system.) Anyway, it will be very curious how this develops. I'm particularly interested if state universities are indeed exempt, and also if the players' union (if it doesn't fold) is able to prevent a team from playing a non-unionized team. I'm sure they are saying that would never happen, but let's just say overreach and taking things to their absurd limit is a fairly common aspect of the way the law works in the U.S.

Northwestern claims that it would rather drop its sports programs than begin paying athletes, so we shall see if they hold to that as well...

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This will go through the courts and colleges and the NCAA will no doubt prevail for a while. But eventually it will happen.

Given how anti-union most southern states are, I expect they would rather dump their sports programs and force things along into the minor league system. (Yes, those minor leaguers would be unionized, but it wouldn't be a union at the very heart of their state university system.)

Are you serious? Half of the population of Alabama/Mississippi/Tennessee would revolt if you tampered with anything around their college football teams, and the same would happen in Kentucky/North Carolina with respect to college basketball. The extreme popularity of college athletics in the South is the NCAA's achilles heel.

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This will go through the courts and colleges and the NCAA will no doubt prevail for a while. But eventually it will happen.

Given how anti-union most southern states are, I expect they would rather dump their sports programs and force things along into the minor league system. (Yes, those minor leaguers would be unionized, but it wouldn't be a union at the very heart of their state university system.)

Are you serious? Half of the population of Alabama/Mississippi/Tennessee would revolt if you tampered with anything around their college football teams, and the same would happen in Kentucky/North Carolina with respect to college basketball. The extreme popularity of college athletics in the South is the NCAA's achilles heel.

I am serious. I don't think people in those states would support those teams if they became unionized.

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