Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Union movement just another sign that College Sports will change

The big college news of the day was Northwestern players attempting to unionize. I am not a lawyer or labor expert so I don't know how this case will play out (follow Warren Zola for a better read). But I think this case along with the Ed O'Bannon suit are just more signs that the current NCAA model will not last. There is just too much money changing hands and not enough going to the players. Lawyers are circling and someone will find an angle and case. The same thing happened in baseball. Curt Flood didn't win his case, but it opened the floodgates for future baseball free agency.

I love college sports, but I don't think the system is fair. Eventually players are going to get paid. For most of the factories this won't be an issue. They will pay and not think twice about it. I always wonder how BC will handle it. I don't think we will lack funds. I just wonder if we will think better of crossing the line. But until we know what the system is, it is really hard for any person or school to take a stand.

While I would like BC to take a leadership position on the issue, ultimately working the channels with like-minded universities is probably the best strategy. If history is any indicator, BC will endorse the same model that schools like Notre Dame, Duke, Syracuse and others advocate.


JBQ said...

Out front "on the point". It must be. Not to follow but to lead. Semper Fi. Ever to Excel. Leahy, the red headed Irishman, now has more challenges on the menu than St. Patrick's Day.

mod34b said...

Before you know it, these activists will be outlawing Apple Pie.


Seriously, this is just a big load of hooey. Fear not Eagle In Atlanta, college football will continue for a long, long time.

ATL_eagle said...


It won't go away. There is too much money being made. I just think it will become a pro sport and wonder if BC would want to be part.

Joseph said...

If college football becomes a pro sport then there will be no football at BC and many other schools. If recruiting becomes nothing more than a bidding war, what would be the point? Would we have no-cut contracts? No-trade contracts? No transfer contracts? What would be the difference between the Pats and BC? Except talent of course.

ORDEagle said...

The problems are myriad - who gets paid and how much? Is it a four year contract or a year to year deal? Only football and basketball players? Taxed on scholarship income - if they even have to go to class? Pay for performance? How will it impact a school's not for profit status if sports have to be organized outside the University's structure?
As bad as it seems now, it will only get messier.

CatabEagle said...

Big time college football and basketball are a sham, pure and simple. Billions are earned on the uncompensated hazardous labor of young men, and this will be remedied eventually through the court system.

The question is what comes next. The simplest option is that College BB and College FB become like hockey and baseball. The courts can rule professional league cannot discriminate on the basis of age, and players can leave whenever they want, and any play on behalf of a university is through their own choice and at their own risk.

If the courts rule players must be compensated, it will be the end of college sports as we know it, whereby most schools become similar to NESCAC/Ivy League and keep to a fixed rivalry schedule and a small minority of the biggies (UT, Alabama) create school-affiliated for-profit subsidiaries that are associated in some manner with the NFL or NBA.

Either way, it will be messy.

Tim said...

$50,000 a year in tuition, room, and board isn't compensation?

Lenny Sienko said...

I thought it interesting that the NW players did not raise the issue of being paid at their press conference.

Rather, they talked about being injured and having ongoing and future medical expenses covered form the revenues from the millions made on the sale of gear.

BarraCuda said...

In his book The Hundred Yard Lie, sportswriter and former Northwestern football player Rick Telander proposed a system whereby revenue-generating college football teams would become a minor league system for the NFL, and would be subsidized by the NFL. They'd pay players, the players would not attend classes, but at the end of their careers they would be allowed to attend the university where they played for free.

Any school that did not want to abide by this could continue to have a football team, but that team would be completely non-revenue producing; no TV, no admission charge, no advertising, and no athletic scholarships.

I think this makes some sense, but the biggest problem with this as I see it would be getting the NFL to agree to subsidize a minor league system, when they don't have to do so right now.

BarraCuda said...

Tim said...
$50,000 a year in tuition, room, and board isn't compensation?

It is compensation if that's what you want. The problem is that it's almost impossible to have an NFL career without playing college football, and if all someone wants is a shot at the NFL then all you're giving them is something they don't want.

Imagine if there were a rule that in order to be a professional pop singer you had to attend a university and give free concerts and make records for four years, and the school made millions of dollars off of the concerts and recordings, and all the performer received was tuition, room and board. I don't think anyone would go for that. But that's essentially what college football is right now.

CT said...

First, I think that's not an accurate analogy. The concept of team, winning as a means of marketing, and television as the same makes it different. And, I do think people would go for that, btw.

College athletes need not be paid. The opportunity to go to a school with reduced entrance requirements for them, to market themselves outside the classroom (inside too), to allow their bodies in the case of football to develop with free weight/nutrition needs provided, tutors, etc. Most kids graduate with loans athletes won't have with interest added over 10 or 20 years doubling the costs involved. How many kids make the NFL from a team? The rest have no shot. There are 85 kids on football scholly at an FBS school. A handful at most have a chance, even if slim at best. 80 kids maybe per team are allowed to play in exchange for an economic freedom that nearly everyone else won't experience, with the same name on the diploma, a great story to tell at an interview, skills learned from the regimen of being a D1 athlete that translate well to the marketplace (learned behavior, btw), and name recognition from time on TV. Seems like a big perk to me.

The wrong assumption is the one that suggests that all these kids are there for is a shot at getting an NFL contract. That strikes me as a condescending stereotype that many of even the big-time names everyone knows don't fit into.

Who cares with the semantics of amateur or pro? Those are words. Call college ball semi-pro. Fine. They are very much indeed getting paid and I don't like how the narrative of this has changed to make those of us who believe there is a fair bargain struck look too "old school" or "traditional" and in bed with the inefficient NCAA org whose motives are indeed suspect. Two different arguments.

By the way, if you think paying these kids is going put a stop to cheating in any way, shape, or form, I've got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. Boosters will simply out- boost each other. If you think this is a fair labor practices argument, I've got student loans with your name written on it.

Napolean Bonaparte said...

Harvard just announced that its endowment now exceeds $35 billion. If players can unionize and seek compensation and benefits, the Ivy League will ultimately dominate college sports.

Claver2010 said...

"By the way, if you think paying these kids is going put a stop to cheating in any way, shape, or form, I've got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you."

I don't think that's the argument at all.

Joseph said...

Nappy, do you really think that Harvard is going to spend on sports? They don't now so why should they later?

BarraCuda said...

I never suggested that all, or even the majority, of kids are playing college football just to get an NFL contract. But many of the best ones are, and I don't blame them one iota.

The best possible solution would be to have an extensive minor league system in football like you have in baseball or hockey. Allow kids to be drafted out of high school. If they want to go pro, they go pro and play in the minors. If they want to go to college, they go and play in college.

We don't force baseball and hockey players to go to college, so why should we do so for football players?

CatabEagle said...

Barracude, you're 100% correct, and if Berklee college of music could get away with making its grammy-winning students perform for free, they would. Likewise if Zuckerberg went to Harvard on a comp-sci scholarship and Harvard kept the rights to Facebook.