(Source — In a potentially game-changing moment for college athletics, the Chicago district of the National Labor Relations Board ruled on Wednesday that Northwestern football players qualify as employees and can unionize.
NLRB regional director Peter Sung Ohr cited the players’ time commitment to their sport and that their scholarships were tied directly to their performance as reasons for granting them union rights.
Ohr wrote in his ruling that Wildcats players “fall squarely within the [National Labor Relations] Act’s broad definition of ’employee’ when one considers the common law definition of ’employee.'”
Ohr ruled that Northwestern players can hold an election on whether they want to be represented by the College Athletes Players Association, which brought the case to the NLRB along with former Wildcats quarterback Kain Colter and the United Steelworkers Union.)
I have a real problem with this. I get that college football players give up their lives essentially to play Division 1 Athletics (any division, really). Practices, workouts, study tables, team meals, any of the autonomy that college offers goes out the window (for the most part) when you decide to play a sport in college. I played football for a couple years at a D3 school and understand it is a pretty big time commitment, even at that level. Of course, it’s a million times amplified at the D1 level. You have to stay in athletic dorms, you have a curfew, you have to abide by strict rules. It sucks, I get it.
I don’t understand the audacity of players (at NW in this case, I’m sure all over the country) wanting to receive union rights for playing a sport, like the NFLPA, NBAPA, etc. Unions exist in professional sports because that’s how professional athletes pay their bills, send their kids to school and invest in their futures, and so on and so forth. What the fuck bills does some schmuck kid whose tuition, room, board, and any college related cost is paid for? You want beer money? Be a bar back at that slop hole you get blacked out at after game days. Work-study programs exist, and are INCREDIBLY flexible. In the off-season I would walk around with a family of a prospective student on Saturday mornings, take them to breakfast, show them the field and weight room, bring them to the Head Coach, and go home and go to sleep. 4 hours of my time, 40 easy dollars. Schools, especially big ones, give their students every opportunity in the world to make some pocket change in their spare time. Not to mention, most college towns have small businesses ran by people who graduated from the local school who solely employs part time college students to run their shops. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Unfortunately, this is an entitlement era. Kids need to be directly rewarded for what they do, regardless of what it is. Having played D3 sports, I was given some help off my schooling in the form of grants and help with financial aid, but I still am up to my neck in student loan debt that I will likely carry into my early 30’s (I’m 23 now). I would give anything to not have that debt, I would drive a nicer car, have a higher credit card limit, hell I could have even bought a house. No, I can’t do these things, because mommy and daddy didn’t help with that (rightfully so) so I had to foot the bill for my schooling. These kids pay NOTHING. NADA. ZIP. Especially at a school like Northwestern, where the 2013-14 school year costs a cool $63,228. Are you fucking kidding me? You’re receiving a top-notch education at one of the best colleges in the country…for fucking FREE as long as you stay current with your grades and play the sport. I don’t know what planet we’re on where that isn’t a good deal, and I CERTAINLY don’t know what planet we’re on if kids need more than that.
Rights? You want rights? Fuck your rights. So fucking what if the school makes a couple bucks off your jersey. They make money off the kids who are going pro anyway, so why does it matter if you’re a 4th stringer who’s going to school for free to essentially be a tackling dummy during the week and have the ability to say you’re on the team on the weekends. I bet you’re rolling in pussy while not having to worry about making rent because of impending student loan payments while I’m over here making about $100 more per month than I owe in bills. Fuck you, and fuck your rights. Shut up, go to school for free, do what you’re told, and be done with it! It’s 4 years out of your life you have to comply with some rules a school sets forth and you get a college education FOR FREE. Mind boggling how this is even an issue to me.
Go to school. Play your sport. If you’re fortunate enough to go pro, good for you. If you aren’t, you received an invaluable piece of paper that will help you land a job almost instantaneously out of school. Enough with this shit. Move on.