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Football Players Of The World Unite

by Tom King

Well...maybe not the world...but in Evanston Illinois the players of Northwestern took the first step toward being represented by a union. For the first time in the history of college sports, northwestern football players submitted paperwork to the National Labor Relations Board. The President of the National College Players Association (started in 2001 by a former college player from UCLA)  also filed union cards signed by a majority of Wildcat players . Ramogi Huma says that "Athletes deserve an equal voice at the table when it comes to their physical, academic and financial protections.".

According to ESPN's "Outside the Lines" the entity that would represent the players if certified by the NLRB is called the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA) It was created by Huma, Northwestern QB Kain Colter and Luke Bonner, a former U-Mass basketball player. It would recieve technical support from the United Steelworkers but the players would not have to pay dues to the union.

Now the pundits and bloggers were mostly critical of the idea with most falling back on the old line about how the athletes are recieving a very expensive education for free. But if you look a little closer you will realize that in many cases that is a myth...and those scholarships are not gauranteed. 

The union would be looking for a number of things to happen and waiting for the NCAA to make them happen is really a fools errand. The NCAA is much more interested in stuffing the accounts with ever increasing millions that of course are earned on the backs of the players. And also punishing said players for even the most minor of infractions. The NCAA has even gone as far as saying they have no legal obligation to protect players from concussions.

Goals include guaranteed scholarships even if a player can no longer play due to injury or medical reasons...better concussion and other medical protections...and for scholarships to cover the full cost of attendance. They are not looking for player salaries right now although the talk of stipends will continue. and right now only football and mens basketball will be covered because they can make the best case. According to Huma they may expand the scope to include other sports which they should.

The five power conferences generate 5.15 billion dollars in revenue annually  and that will certainly go up with the advent of the College Football Playoff system.

This will take years as the colleges and NCAA will fight this tooth and nail. The federal court system will probably have to ultimatly decide it.

The term "student-athlete was coined by the NCAA back in the fifties after a court in Colorado determined that a University of Denver player was a school employee and the school was responsible to provide worker-comp for his injuries.  In many states other students who provide services for universities ARE considered employees.

Its hard to argue against the idea that most if not all of these players are being exploited. They are used to make millions of dollars for their schools and see little to none of that money...plus are then discarded if they can longer ply their trade. 

The other positive of this action is that if successful, it will probably destroy the NCAA and all the of the disingeneous BS that they have promulgated over the years. And that cant happen soon enough.

You can see some of those "employees"  work tonight as the Northwestern Wildcat mens basketball team comes to Madison to face the Badgers.  Pre game at 7 on WSAU.

The Pointers also put their unbeaten mark on the line as they host Eau Claire tonight.

And the Bucks will try again as they host Phoenix at the Bradley Center. Pre game at 6:40 on Foxsports Radio AM1390 & FM 93.9.

Songs Of The Day

Minstrel Of The Dawn-Gordon Lightfoot (1970) after a number of hit or miss LPs the Canadian troubadour released "Sit Down Young Stranger". This was the lead off track

Minute By Minute-Doobie Brothers (1978) the Michael McDonald takeover of the band was complete with this album turning the straight ahead rock band into a blue-eyed soul outfit