A group of college football players led by former Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter has won its case against Northwestern University in the National Labor Relations Board, putting it on the path toward official unionization (the full ruling in PDF form, via ESPN).
Okay, let me preface this by saying I am no lawyer or an expert on labor laws and the following is my personal views on this subject.. This article is a general outline of the ruling but in the comments a (supposed) labor lawyer offered her thoughts on what this ruling meant from a legal stand point. (I'm sure Erik will be able to provide his own insight on this as well) You can find her comments starting here. (she makes some great points IMO).
Also, a former Mizzou player offered his thoughts on the subject. via his twitter account and honestly, I was pleasantly surprised. I found his opinions interesting, to say the least, and they even made me rethink my stance on a few issues.
My general feeling (based on what I've read) is that a union is a terrible idea and could lead to an imbalance between unionized and non-unionized athletic departments. One article I read, written by another lawyer who worked in Arizona, brought up the Pac-12 as an example. Stanford and USC are both private institutions (subject to Union laws) but his opinion is that the State of Arizona would likely not let UA and ASU follow suit. His feeling is that this division would create a competitive disadvantage and could open the door to a slew of other issues. (Title IX, possible pay for play, taxes if players do obtain wages, and how this would possibly cause athletic departments to de-fund non-revenue sports)
aka. Pandora's Box
Ohr, though, is not in the system. Ohr's opinion reads like that of someone who has not watched college football for one minute of his life, was told the basic premise for the sport's existence and amateurism rules, and rejected all the inherent contradictions. Ohr begins by detailing the life of a Northwestern scholarship football player, and how it differs from that of a typical student:
Go read that list and try to avoid laughing all morning. (these poor kids)
Sorry, I just don't feel bad for the players. Yes, there needs to be more funding for concussion research and player safety. Yes, scholarships need to be adjusted allowing for more stipend money and the cost of an education. I also believe players should be allowed to make money off their likeness but acting like football players are being mistreated (like coal workers with black lung disease) is silliness. Comparing football players to regular students is not a fair comparison at all. Notice the term student-athlete. They are singled out for a reason. If you go there, you might as well compare a 1st year Criminal Justice major to a 2nd year law student. The two things are not the same.
Alabama players, for example, have nearly their entire lives taken care of and want for nothing. Again, adjustments need to be made but these players are given an opportunity at a free education which should amount to something. We all like to make fun of Dabo Swinney but he had some solid thoughts on the subject yesterday.
"We've got enough entitlement in this country as it is," Swinney said. "To say these guys get nothing totally devalues an education. It just blows my mind people don't even want to quantify an education
My point is all the people trying to fight the good fight on behalf of these players need to take a step back off the ledge. Student athletes, mainly football players, are afforded much more than their fellow normal students. And honestly, if players were mistreated so horribly, would parents really send off their children to suffer such horrible atrocities? I know I wouldn't...
The Crimson Tide's six home meets drew an average of 12,826 to Coleman Coliseum this season. That's good for second nationally behind Utah (14,349) not just in gymnastics, but NCAA women's sports as a whole. The Alabama numbers were down slightly from the 13,421 it drew in 2013. That's still higher than Tennessee women's basketball (11,600) and Georgia gymnastics (9,504) as the largest draws among SEC women's sports.
I'll say this yet again, we shouldn't wait till a sport is "successful" before showing up to games. At the very least, there is no reason we can't consistently sell out baseball games.
"Well, like we all talk about before we even start off the offseason program, it's a new team, new identity, new everything," Devall said. "We're just going out there every day to create our own identity. C.J. leaves big shoes to fill, but we'll pick it up." Devall also touched on the team's attitude after losing two straight games to end the 2013 season. "It's been very positive," he said. "We've got lots of guys going down the right path. We're just getting better. I like the way things are going, so we're going to keep it positive."
Yet another remark regarding the team's focus.
"I am going to be paid for an unbiased point of view and an unbiased opinion as to what I see on film," McElroy said. "Did I have a great time at Alabama? Absolutely. I could not be more grateful to the people I met and things I learned, but I also have to be fair to the fans of the Southeastern Conference and give an objective view of what I think of their team and Alabama's team."
Asked if he was capable of being critical of his old coach, Nick Saban, McElroy did not hesitate. "I think I will be capable, absolutely," he said. "I think the world of coach Saban. He knows that. But I have to have an opinion and I have to be honest. Now my opinion might not always be right. In fact, there will be several times -- and maybe even a majority of times -- my opinion might be wrong. But I will have that opinion and stand by it."