As debate rolls on regarding the decision last week by the National Labor Relations Board that Northwestern football players qualified as university employees, there has been no shortage of collegiate-athletics big-wigs voicing their opinions.
Unsurprisingly, most think the unionization of college athletes is a bad idea.
Or a “terrible idea,” as Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott wrote in this op-ed for USA Today.
This is Scott’s opening paragraph:
The decision last week by a National Labor Relations Board official in Chicago to upend collegiate athletics by characterizing Northwestern University’s scholarship football players as “employees” is a terrible idea that will do nothing to improve college sports and may well destroy them.
It’s worth a full read.
— NCAA president and former UW president Mark Emmert held a wide-ranging press conference at the site of the Final Four yesterday, and, again unsurprisingly, Emmert voiced his displeasure with the idea of unionizing college athletes.
While acknowledging that the relationship between schools and college athletes is headed for some measure of change, Emmert said making them unionized employees “would blow up everything about the collegiate model of athletics.”
Emmert’s comments came a little more than a week after the regional National Labor Relations Board ruled that Northwestern football players have the right to form a union.
Though the NCAA is not directly involved in that process, and the ruling is likely headed for a long appeals process through the national NLRB and eventually the court system, Emmert was highly critical of the notion that collective bargaining could be applied to college athletics.
“You can’t split that one in two. You’re either a student at a university playing your sport or you’re an employee of that university,” he said. “If you move to a model where you have labor negotiations between management – that would be coaches and athletic directors – and student-athletes to determine everything about what that relationship should be, is a wildly different notion than saying these are students.”
— The UW baseball team used a bases-loaded, 3-run double in the bottom of the 10th inning to take a series win over Oregon and remain by itself in first place in the Pac-12. The Huskies improved to 22-6-1 and 10-2 in Pac-12 play.
Christian Caple can be reached at email@example.com. Twitter: @ChristianCaple