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Northwestern Univ. football players attempts to unionize

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It won't go anywhere, but kudos to NW for continuing to push the subject.

Read more.

Ramogi Huma, president of the National College Players Association, filed a petition on behalf of Northwestern players that would essentially recognize college athletes as employees, according to the report.

The movement began when Wildcats quarterback Kain Colter reached out to Huma, a former UCLA linebacker, last year. Huma met with Northwestern players — an undisclosed number of whom had signed union cards filed with the National Labor Relations Board — last weekend.

The NCAA urinated on this by referencing the golden rule:

This union-backed attempt to turn student-athletes into employees undermines the purpose of college: an education. Student-athletes are not employees, and their participation in college sports is voluntary. We stand for all student-athletes, not just those the unions want to professionalize.

Many student athletes are provided scholarships and many other benefits for their participation. There is no employment relationship between the NCAA, its affiliated institutions or student-athletes.

Student-athletes are not employees within any definition of the National Labor Relations Act or the Fair Labor Standards Act. We are confident the National Labor Relations Board will find in our favor, as there is no right to organize student-athletes.

Thoughts?

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The only way this gets any real attention is if we start having full teams "striking" by refusing to play games. But as awesome as that would be, that's not likely.

For all of the talk we get about leagues that try to compete with the NFL, I'm really surprised there hasn't been more of a push for an alternative league to college football. Is there any more restrictions the NFL places on players other than they have to be (I think) three years removed from playing high school football? Would this really be that difficult to at least attempt? It seems like it would be SO much easier and way more profitable to try and go for the NCAA's jugular rather than trying to run with the NFL.

And hell, if they wanted to keep the educational aspect of it, part of the contract these guys sign could even be the league paying for them to take online classes at schools like U of Phoenix or something (hell, even major universities offer full degree programs online). Is getting a degree at a school like Middle Tennessee State where you got a scholarship to play football really that different than an online degree?

Stories like this just make the NCAA look so weak, and maybe now would be a good time for a few millionaires who were thinking about starting a fledgling professional league to compete with the NFL to go in for the kill on the NCAA. If done right, it could make a fortune, too.

It's probably just not that simple, though.

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One argument that I've seen that counters the "college athletes aren't employees" arguments is that they are employees in that they're paid college tuition as compensation for their athletic participation. Yes, their participation is voluntary but if they did decide to stop playing, they would lose their scholarship.

I don't know how much water that argument holds from a legal standpoint but it does make sense to me.

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It's not as simple as mean school vs. Defenseless players. Some of the schools, Northwestern being one, are not cheap. A college education is a pre requisite for a lot of jobs that they theoretically would have aside from being a pro athlete. Given that free opportunity for the return of playing a sport that they love isn't the same as being an uncompensated or undercompensated employee. This will be thrown out more than likely. The premise of student athlete will be enforced when the big schools separate from the NCAA

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It's not as simple as mean school vs. Defenseless players. Some of the schools, Northwestern being one, are not cheap. A college education is a pre requisite for a lot of jobs that they theoretically would have aside from being a pro athlete. Given that free opportunity for the return of playing a sport that they love isn't the same as being an uncompensated or undercompensated employee. This will be thrown out more than likely. The premise of student athlete will be enforced when the big schools separate from the NCAA

So what happens if you sustain a career ending injury? The school doesn't have to cover the medical care for that injury at the moment.

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I like that they're doing this. I doubt it will get anywhere, but it's a start. There are already rumors that the NCAA is looking at setting up some sort of pay system for athletes.

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But when will we hear from Bob Loblaw on Bob Loblaw's Law Blog?

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It's not as simple as mean school vs. Defenseless players. Some of the schools, Northwestern being one, are not cheap. A college education is a pre requisite for a lot of jobs that they theoretically would have aside from being a pro athlete. Given that free opportunity for the return of playing a sport that they love isn't the same as being an uncompensated or undercompensated employee. This will be thrown out more than likely. The premise of student athlete will be enforced when the big schools separate from the NCAA

The thing I don't like about that is that the value may be high, but the cost of them providing it to you is basically nothing. Student-athletes have special tutoring and some such stuff, but the marginal cost of one more student added on to 30,000 is nil. A scholarship is not a huge investment for most universities.

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It is when you count all the scholarships for all the student-athletes who receive them. Plus how are you going to determine which athletes and which sports get counted as employees? Plus if they're considered employees they should have to pay back that scholarship since they're not students anymore. Then they're technically ineligible to play since they're no longer students.

They have it better than any other student at these schools and yet they still act like the oppressed ones.

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I actually like this idea of college football player unionization. In a sense they actually are college "employees" I'm using "employees" loosly because, yes they work for the college they play for, BUT at the same time they do not get paid. Given the work-for-no pay, they actually are volunteers that could quit at any moment.

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They don't "work". It's an extracurricular activity that they already get nearly $100,000 in free education for, not to mention the best job exposure known to man. Ask the thousand of other students working 2-3 jobs to pay for school and living if they think these athletes are being treated unfairly.

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A few years back this guy I know who is basically a scam artist with some new con every month and hasn't ever finished a project in his life gave me a copy of his movie script. The basic premise is that the two teams who reach the NCAA Basketball championship game refuse to play until they're paid and the national championship game ends up being decided by a non-sanctioned outdoor streetball game.

The movie and the plot of the movie will never happen in real life, but I thought the idea was interesting.

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I would have liked to see the NCAA come out and say something to the effect of "While we don't agree with the athletes unionizing because they aren't employees, we do agree that many of their goals and issues need to be addressed and we look forward to working with current and former players to remedy their concerns."

Would have gone a long way from a PR perspective.

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They don't "work". It's an extracurricular activity that they already get nearly $100,000 in free education for, not to mention the best job exposure known to man. Ask the thousand of other students working 2-3 jobs to pay for school and living if they think these athletes are being treated unfairly.

Agreed. If they're going to become paid workers, they'll have to give up the goodies and pay their way like most every other student (not to mention start paying income tax).

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I definitely think this is a good start as long they don't do the pay-to-play line because it is a very touchy subject with NCAA rules.

I would have liked to see the NCAA come out and say something to the effect of "While we don't agree with the athletes unionizing because they aren't employees, we do agree that many of their goals and issues need to be addressed and we look forward to working with current and former players to remedy their concerns."

Would have gone a long way from a PR perspective.

This would've been much better in a PR sense and if the NCAA could work with current and former players, there wouldn't be as many issues in the future.

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It is when you count all the scholarships for all the student-athletes who receive them. Plus how are you going to determine which athletes and which sports get counted as employees? Plus if they're considered employees they should have to pay back that scholarship since they're not students anymore. Then they're technically ineligible to play since they're no longer students.

They have it better than any other student at these schools and yet they still act like the oppressed ones.

They don't "work". It's an extracurricular activity that they already get nearly $100,000 in free education for, not to mention the best job exposure known to man. Ask the thousand of other students working 2-3 jobs to pay for school and living if they think these athletes are being treated unfairly.

They don't "work". It's an extracurricular activity that they already get nearly $100,000 in free education for, not to mention the best job exposure known to man. Ask the thousand of other students working 2-3 jobs to pay for school and living if they think these athletes are being treated unfairly.

Agreed. If they're going to become paid workers, they'll have to give up the goodies and pay their way like most every other student (not to mention start paying income tax).

Great points here. Job exposure being a key one; how many graphic designers, teachers, pharmacists, engineers, etc. get to show their stuff to the highest paying employers in their fields on a weekly basis as part of their job?

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It is when you count all the scholarships for all the student-athletes who receive them. Plus how are you going to determine which athletes and which sports get counted as employees? Plus if they're considered employees they should have to pay back that scholarship since they're not students anymore. Then they're technically ineligible to play since they're no longer students.

They have it better than any other student at these schools and yet they still act like the oppressed ones.

They don't "work". It's an extracurricular activity that they already get nearly $100,000 in free education for, not to mention the best job exposure known to man. Ask the thousand of other students working 2-3 jobs to pay for school and living if they think these athletes are being treated unfairly.

They don't "work". It's an extracurricular activity that they already get nearly $100,000 in free education for, not to mention the best job exposure known to man. Ask the thousand of other students working 2-3 jobs to pay for school and living if they think these athletes are being treated unfairly.

Agreed. If they're going to become paid workers, they'll have to give up the goodies and pay their way like most every other student (not to mention start paying income tax).

Great points here. Job exposure being a key one; how many graphic designers, teachers, pharmacists, engineers, etc. get to show their stuff to the highest paying employers in their fields on a weekly basis as part of their job?

Yet how many college athletes end up playing professional sports? My guess is less than 1%. How many graphic design students end up being graphic designers? My guess is more than 80%. You're comparing apples to oranges.

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It is when you count all the scholarships for all the student-athletes who receive them. Plus how are you going to determine which athletes and which sports get counted as employees? Plus if they're considered employees they should have to pay back that scholarship since they're not students anymore. Then they're technically ineligible to play since they're no longer students.

They have it better than any other student at these schools and yet they still act like the oppressed ones.

They don't "work". It's an extracurricular activity that they already get nearly $100,000 in free education for, not to mention the best job exposure known to man. Ask the thousand of other students working 2-3 jobs to pay for school and living if they think these athletes are being treated unfairly.

They don't "work". It's an extracurricular activity that they already get nearly $100,000 in free education for, not to mention the best job exposure known to man. Ask the thousand of other students working 2-3 jobs to pay for school and living if they think these athletes are being treated unfairly.

Agreed. If they're going to become paid workers, they'll have to give up the goodies and pay their way like most every other student (not to mention start paying income tax).

Great points here. Job exposure being a key one; how many graphic designers, teachers, pharmacists, engineers, etc. get to show their stuff to the highest paying employers in their fields on a weekly basis as part of their job?

Yet how many college athletes end up playing professional sports? My guess is less than 1%. How many graphic design students end up being graphic designers? My guess is more than 80%. You're comparing apples to oranges.

True, but if they fail at pro sports they have gotten a college degree from a top notch school. The rebuttle here would be "well what if they came out early or got hurt?" Thats goes back to the choice they made to make that sport their focus.

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They don't "work". It's an extracurricular activity that they already get nearly $100,000 in free education for, not to mention the best job exposure known to man. Ask the thousand of other students working 2-3 jobs to pay for school and living if they think these athletes are being treated unfairly.

Agreed. If they're going to become paid workers, they'll have to give up the goodies and pay their way like most every other student (not to mention start paying income tax).

What if they didn't pay tuition and just worked for the university in a fundraising/student-activities capacity?

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