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OPINION - The union vote

by Chris Conley

NEWS BLOG (WSAU) Northwestern scholarship football players are voting today on forming a union. I've already blogged about the ridiculousness of the situation. The relationship between a scholarship athlete and the college they attend has no similarities to an employer-employee relationship.

Three random thoughts on today's development:

First, it shouldnt be happening at all. The vote, which will be sealed because the National Labor Relations Boards decision is being challenged in court, should be stayed until a final decision is reached. It's likely that players who are voting today will have graduated before the case is resolved.

Second, Governor Scott Walker was asked about this during an open-mic session with reporters. It was presented in the media as Walker is anti-union. So what did he think? "I think it's ridiculous I think college athletes should continue to get scholarships to the schools they attend."

Lastly, here's what I find so interesting about the Northwestern story: no one know how it's going to end. Will college sports be radically different? Yes, I think the NCAA and member schools will make sweeping changes even if they ultimately win their lawsuit (and I think they will win in court). But if college sports are unionized, I have no idea how the athletic landscape will change. I'm certain with the type of money at stake there will be college athletics. The NCAA's complete cave-in to untrue allegations that student-athletes are going hungry while on campus indicates they'll twist themselves in a pretzel to salvage their relevance.

I've been giving some thought to how reconstituted college athletics might look like. I'm not sure. Its an interesting subject, because the experts don't know either.

Chris Conley
4.25.14

Image: Navy vs. Texas Tech in Houston, TX via WikiCommons.com