Get PJ Media on your Apple

PJM Lifestyle

by
Rick Moran

Bio

March 26, 2014 - 3:53 pm

If this ruling is allowed to stand — and remember, this is Barack Obama’s NLRB — it will radically alter the face, the finances, and the reality of college sports.

But there are a lot of headwinds to navigate — including the fact that the national NLRB has to weigh in on the matter — so the odds are not good the players will win out in the end.

Basically, the Northwestern University football players were claiming that they should be designated “employees” while the school and the NCAA claim they are “students.” If they are employees, they should be able to unionize. And that’s just what regional NLRB director Peter Sung Ohr ruled.

Wall Street Journal:

The “employee” distinction is a landmark one because it contradicts the NCAA’s longtime stance that athletes are students and amateur athletes, and should not be compensated beyond their scholarships. The NCAA could not immediately be reached for comment.

“I have found that all grant-in-aid scholarship players for the Employer’s football team who have not exhausted their playing eligibility are ‘employees,’” wrote National Labor Relations Board regional director Peter Sung Ohr in a 24-page decision released Wednesday.

The College Athlete Players Association filed the petition on behalf of Northwestern athletes, identified in the ruling as “a labor organization.”

Northwestern plans to appeal the decision to the NLRB’s national office in Washington by the April 9 deadline, school officials said.

In a statement, NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy said: “We strongly disagree with the notion that student-athletes are employees. We frequently hear from student-athletes, across all sports, that they participate to enhance their overall college experience and for the love of their sport, not to be paid.”

Remy’s statement also said that NCAA member colleges and universities have evaluated the association’s amateurism rules in recent years and that improvements need to be made, but that “we do not need to completely throw away a system that has helped literally millions of students over the past decade alone attend college.”

Alan K. Cubbage, Northwestern vice president for university relations, issued a statement about the decision: “Northwestern University is disappointed by today’s ruling by the regional director of the National Labor Relations Board finding that Northwestern University’s football players who receive grant-in-aid scholarships are employees and directing that a secret ballot election be held to determine whether the football players should be represented by the College Athletes Players Association for purposes of collective bargaining with Northwestern University.”

Cubbage’s statement went on to say, “While we respect the NLRB process and the regional director’s opinion, we disagree with it. Northwestern believes strongly that our student-athletes are not employees, but students. Unionization and collective bargaining are not the appropriate methods to address the concerns raised by student-athletes.”

One assumes that the reason the players wish to unionize is to end the fiction that players don’t get “paid” to play sports. In addition to a $100,000 a year college education, most players get other “goodies” allowed by the NCAA’s wildly complex and byzantine eligibility rules. With the ability to unionize, will the players want a cut of TV contracts? If a coach can get a couple of million dollars, why can’t players get their cut?

The USCs, Notre Dames, and Alabamas whose athletic programs actually make money for the university are few and far between. It doesn’t make sense for a college players union in any sport to lobby for cash benefits. For the vast majority of schools, the money simply isn’t there. On the other hand, if the players want to unionize in order to lobby for better health benefits or improved working conditions (better training facilities, study halls, etc.), that might be more realistic.

Colleges serve as the minor leagues for both professional football and basketball (less so for baseball). Scholarship athletes pointing toward a pro career use the university athletic system as a way station on their path to professionalism. Most schools don’t require athletes to expend much brainpower during their stay, although there are notable exceptions. So what is the philosophical basis for this union? The athletes get a free education at an elite school, all their needs attended to, help with their studies, and the adulation and glory that go with college sports. What’s missing here? I don’t see it, and it may be that the national NLRB won’t see it either.

And what of those scholarship athletes — the vast majority of them — who will never realize their dreams of playing pro ball? Or other scholarship athletes in sports like women’s field hockey or swimming where there are no professional opportunities at all? Unionizing college athletes sounds like the “hip” thing to do, but on a practical basis, there’s no rational basis for one.

Rick Moran is PJ Media's Chicago editor and Blog editor at The American Thinker. He is also host of the"RINO Hour of Power" on Blog Talk Radio. His own blog is Right Wing Nut House.

Comments are closed.

All Comments   (20)
All Comments   (20)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
"In addition to a $100,000 a year college education..."

$100,000?!

It's hardly surprising that a preposterous, fabricated figure is deployed in this weird defense of the NCAA's economic rape of student "hobbyist" athletes.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
➽➽➽➽➽ONLINE JOBS➽➽➽➽
m­­­y­­­­ n­­­­­e­­­­i­­­g­­h­­­b­­­o­­­r'­­s ­­­­s­­­­­i­­­s­­­t­­­e­­­­r­­­­­­­in-­­­law ­­makes ­­­$76 ­­hourly ­­­on ­­­­­the ­­­computer. ­­­­She ­­­­­has ­­­­been ­­­­without work ­­­­­for ­­­­six ­­­months ­­­­but ­­­­last ­­­­month ­­­­­­her ­­income ­­­­was ­­­­$14418 ­­­just ­­­­­working ­­­on ­­­­­the ­­­computer ­­­for ­­­­­a fe­­­­­­w ­­­­­­ho­­­urs. ­­­vi­­­­­sit ­­­­­­­t­­h­­­e ­­si­­­te
➽➽➽➽➽WWW.MAX38.COM
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Good. It's well past time that education and minor league sports be decoupled.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
College athletes will get their salaries, except that they'll then balk at having to pay for tuition and room and board, as well as union dues and then of course, they'll need a rep (who will take 10 - 20%). Good luck!


34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
You know, I know several men who lost their scholarships once they were injured and could no longer play, er, I mean, work. Now, they'll not just be tossed out but will rather be able to make Worker's Comp claims, perhaps even for disability.

I just read that the plan to forgive part of student loans is coming with a nice tax liability. How will these student athletes pay the tax liability on the value of the compensation, er, scholarship?
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
So bring back the student athlete. Save scholarships for academic achievement only. Those basketball and football teams are no more a reflection of that college's culture than the nearest NFL team is.

These universities have suddenly found themselves the victims of their own success: they have pro sports franchises on their hands that have nothing to do with education. They're going to have to start sharing that money.

What percentage of Div 1 basketball and football players wouldn't even be in college were it not for athletics? Is that what colleges are for?
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
So called student athletes have caused much disruption to the lives of other university students. At Iowa State low-life football players use to congregate in the courtyard of the south dorm complex and try to yell loud enough to wake up a few thousand students at 5 Am in the morning. They were a consistently losing football team.

Great so they have the ambition and can get up at 5 AM to engage in grueling football practices. Great! Awesome.

But did they consider many of those student had grueling study session and stayed up until 1AM to 2 AM in the morning and do not need to be harassed?
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
In a way this is good. One way to get the whole house of cards to tumble down is to insist on ending all exceptions to the rules created by our betters in government.

Let's expose college athletics to all of the regulatory requirements of the workplace, i.e. get that ADA kicker in at least once per quarter.

Let's insist that everyone in the private sector gets the same pensions, work rules, job security and benefits of Public Service employees. We can see what a loaf of bread ends up costing under such conditions.

Let's open the borders to everyone. Why should our largess be given only to those who sneak in from Central and South America.

Let's sick the EPA on anyone with more than an acre of land. Where is your land management plan? Your impact study for that Saturday car washing and clean-up job you have planned.

Let's end private schools for the children of government elites. Kids must attend a school within 5 miles of Mom or Dad's office.

Let's audit everyone every year. Everyone in a restaurant must wear a hair net including the diners. No exceptions for anyone on anything.

34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Cloward-Piven can work both ways.

Your suggesting that we apply Leftist policies whole hog across the board all at once so that the public rightfully hates their stupidity.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Not sure how this is gonna work but it sure as hell could mean the end of college football as we know it today.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
It will mean the end of middle school & high school sports. This willbe a blerssing.

We can have sports leagues which for kids which operate outside the purview of the school system. Then we can shrink all the distastrous overhead of the education and get back to basics.

Soccer leagues in many places has already operated outside of the school as have some football Like Pop Warner.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
When the rubber meets the road.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
I see some delightful implications here.

Since attending classes is a condition of employment, any practice, training or other activity outside the 8/40 hr parameters would be OT. I wonder, will the athletes be exempt or non-exempt to the FLSA? Perhaps their compensation if exempt will take them above Obama's new OT requirements for salaried workers. Guess they'll have to schedule the college games during normal working hours.

Oh, and the co-eds, in the locker room, the dorms, well, that just might be determined to be a hostile work environment. And OSHA will have to look into workplace safety, new required safety equipment.

And, all those delightful away games, that will generate state income tax liability for wages earned while performing in the state. And how do you take FICA out of a scholarship?
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
1 2 Next View All