Kain Colter Starts Union Movement

January 28, 2014 at 10:50a    by DJ Byrnes    
74 Comments
Northwestern QB Kain Colter

It started last September as mere symbolism — Northwestern QB Kain Colter and other players wore "APU" for "All Players United" on their wristbands. Today, it became more than just three letters scribbled onto a wristband. From ESPN:

Ramogi Huma, president of the National College Players Association, filed a petition in Chicago on behalf of football players at Northwestern University, submitting the form at the regional office of the National Labor Relations Board.

Backed by the United Steelworkers union, Huma also filed union cards signed by an undisclosed number of Northwestern players with the NLRB -- the federal statutory body that recognizes groups that seek collective bargaining rights.

"This is about finally giving college athletes a seat at the table," said Huma, a former UCLA linebacker, who created the NCPA as an advocacy group in 2001. "Athletes deserve an equal voice when it comes to their physical, academic and financial protections."

Kain Colter was the lead voice in making this happen, according to Huma; the Northwestern signal-caller reached out last spring. Among their issues with the NCAA are non-guaranteed scholarships and the NCAA's concussion policy.

Does this mean a new age is immediately coming to all of Division-I football? Not entirely:

The NLRA governs only private enterprises and does [not] apply to public universities. As a private university, Northwestern University falls under its jurisdiction. Gerard said that based on labor law, any decision in favor of the players against Northwestern would apply to all private universities across the country in the FBS division. It would not apply to public universities, which are governed by state laws.

This will definitely make an interesting legal case for study, regardless of its outcome.

UPDATE (1:14 PM): An anonymous Northwestern player has taken to Reddit to clarify the thinking behind this move:

This isn't about getting paid. What it is about is protection. Many of us will have numerous injuries throughout our playing careers. A group of those players will continue to feel the effects of those injuries long after their playing days are over. The goal is to have some sort of medical protection if we need surgeries stemming from injuries sustained while playing for our university. Another goal is graduate school for those who were fortunate enough to play as a true Freshman. Most student-athletes get redshirted in their first year, and receive one year of grad school payed for in their fifth year of eligibility. We feel as though it is fair to ask for the same investment from the university all around. It isn't about getting an extra $200 a month for spending. We have our stipend, and if we budget correctly we are able to make it stretch for the month. Would it be nice to have some part of jersey sales or memorabilia sales? Absolutely. But that is not the goal as of right now.

Just wanted to add in that I am extremely thankful for the opportunity I have been given to not only play football, but to attend a world class university such as Northwestern. It is an opportunity millions dream of having. We are treated well at Northwestern, but unfortunately that is not the case at many other schools. Hopefully we can create a voice for the players and clean up these issues.

UPDATE (1:53 PM): As you can imagine, the NCAA doesn't agree with this attempt to unionize athletes. Its full response can be read HERE.


74 Comments

Comments

Killer nuts's picture

Kudos to these college students for taking action in something they believe in. That's what college is all about

PittBuckeye's picture

When did that become what college was about? For me college is/was about learning, and being able to get a good job to support myself and my family one day. And I think most college administrators think that's what college is about. For a lot of these kids it's about playing football. It isn't a movement, it's a place for higher learning. 
And to me these kids asking for their whole college life to be paid for is something I can understand both sides of. Sure they make the university more money than their scholarship is worth, but at the same time every business I've ever worked for I have made the company a lot more money than they've paid me, that's how life works. If you want to make a percentage of the profits, and not whatever they're offering then own the business.

jaxbuckeye's picture

Per my past comments on this subject, completely agree.  You are there for school and getting it all paid for based on playing football.  Enjoy and embrace that opportunity.  If this is about concussions and guaranteed scholarships, I would support it.  If they are going to add the whole "we should be paid" garbage, I'm out.

PittBuckeye's picture

Absolutely, scholarships should be guaranteed, and these are kids who are there for learning so protecting their heads seems like a no-brainer. Being over cautious with amateur athletes brains shouldn't even be a question. The more money thing to those of us who had none of their college paid for is harder to swallow. I know plenty of people who worked 50ish hours a week, got a lot less free stuff than these kids, and had less free time, and they graduated with crushing debt still.

TheBadOwl's picture

Think about it this way, if I got a full ride based on academics, I'd still have enough free time to work a part-time job, plus I wouldn't be putting my body and my future health on the line for the university.
Student-athletes? Well, they're providing the university with a service, they're risking their health, and they're putting in >40 hours per week. 
Their scholarships are contingent on their participation in athletic activities that also put them at significant risk for injuries, while not being allowed to work a part-time job for supplementary income.
They absolutely deserve to be paid. The whole "Oh isn't an education enough" thing is a load of crap. There are a ton of people who get non-athletic scholarships, who don't do nearly as much for the university as these athletes do from a revenue standpoint, are allowed to work part-time jobs and aren't forced to risk their health.
 

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

kb1's picture

They arent "forced" to do anthing. Im pretty sure they can refuse a scholarship if they choose.

Killer nuts's picture

On the one hand perhaps you interpreted "that's what college is all about" more literally than I intended; clearly, college is a wonderful opportunity for higher learning and to prepare oneself for the future. On the other hand, here's what pops up when I google "Harvard Mission Statement" (I chose Harvard because they seem like a decent authority on things related to educational missions):

Harvard strives to create knowledge, to open the minds of students to that knowledge, and to enable students to take best advantage of their educational opportunities. To these ends, the College encourages students to respect ideas and their free expression, and to rejoice in discovery and in critical thought; to pursue excellence in a spirit of productive cooperation; and to assume responsibility for the consequences of personal actions. Harvard seeks to identify and to remove restraints on students’ full participation, so that individuals may explore their capabilities and interests and may develop their full intellectual and human potential. Education at Harvard should liberate students to explore, to create, to challenge, and to lead

I think what these students are doing is in line with this mission statement and with what I said about Kudos to them for standing up for what they believe and taking action. They have ideas and they are exercising free expression and critical thought in a spirit of productive cooperation. Equally important, they will have to assume responsibility for their actions. They are exploring, creating, challenging, and leading and I applaud them for it. Perhaps it won't result in them getting jobs as you say is the point of college and perhaps it won't affect their football careers at all but they are standing for what they believe

popeurban's picture

And I think most college administrators think college [is about learning, and being able to get a good job]. 

Pitt, I think you are kidding yourself.  Administrators whether they are in college, or in a fortune 500 company generally think about one thing, the bottom line.  And for administrators in athletics, which is what we are talking about, that bottom line is wins and money.
 
 

brylee's picture

While I don't believe this movement will go anywhere, I do believe these kids probably have more of a leg to stand on, than their pro counterparts.  Players in the NFL get to negotiate their own contracts privately, making the need for a union seem political at best.

rdubs's picture

The NFL union makes a lot of sense.  Given that the NFL has an anti-trust exemption, the owners could easily collude and just decide to pay players less.  Additionally the collective bargaining agreement does a lot more than cover compensation, it sets the rules on how the league treats its players in a whole host of contexts, things that a single player would be essentially powerless to negotiate on their own.

brylee's picture

I see your point, though I have a difficult time seeing a pro-athlete as needing to be protected by a collective bargaining agreement.  That is the point of contract negotiation.  Collusion can occur whether or not one has union protection.

rdubs's picture

Their power to collude is greatly weakened by a union.  If the owners agree to a lower salary cap, the players can say no thank you and go on strike.  The collective bargaining agreement covers the amount of practice time and how players are disciplined so that the process is fair for all involved and so that players aren't subject to retaliation or unduly dangerous conditions.  It would either not happen or be completely non-functional if each player negotiated the amount of time they would practice each week individiually.

brylee's picture

Then why not let the union negotiate their salaries as well?

rdubs's picture

The union has negotiated their salaries quite a bit.  Primarily through the salary cap negotiations, but also through the slotting of draft picks into specific salary ranges.

tennbuckeye19's picture

IIRC, Pat Fitzgerald wasn't very happy that Colter was wearing APU on their wristbands and talked to him about it, calling it a 'teachable moment.' I wonder what Fitzgerald thinks now that his QB is spearheading a union for players.

cronimi's picture

That the lesson wasn't learned last autumn, would be my guess. Among other thoughts....

BuckFly's picture

Maybe now we have some insight to Northwestern's meltdown of a season after losing to the Buckeyes. Sounds like some serious team chemistry problems existed. 

Doc's picture

Who will this impact the most?  NWestern's union could mean huge dollars for USC, or Stanford(IDK if Stanford is private, I'm assuming here) down the road.  This will be fun to watch.  At some point in time the entirety of college athletics will be under the union umbrella.

"Say my name."

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

(IDK if Stanford is private, I'm assuming here)

It is.

I_Run_The_Dave's picture

I believe scUM is also private -- oh, the hate if they somehow are able to pay players when OSU is not.  The rivalry might explode.

Chief B1G Dump's picture

This will impact US the most. The universities or some company advertising will not be paying for the college players "insurance" and/or medical expenses, those dollars will be passed down to us, the consumers. The college players have no way to pay their union dues, us average joes would be paying to subsidize all this in tickets that cost more, concessions at the stadium that cost more, jerseys and gear that cost more, etc...so this would definately impact us.

Going to college for FREE to play a GAME that you chose to play IS the insurance/safety portion. The student in student athlete IS the fall back plan. Nobody is forcing these kids to play or demanding that this is the only path to the NFL. We are already covering the cost of their tuition.

I will not delve into politics, as that is a nono, but this country is out of control with its entitlement. We, in no way shape or form, should pay for college players healthcare and/or union.

Chief B1G Dump's picture

I will also add...
Between this issue putting private schools on one side and pu lic universities on the other. And the inconsistent NCAA governing and punishments. Plus the general shittiness of the NCAA...
This is another step towards the great college schism and a revolt against the NCAA!

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

This is another step towards the great college schism and a revolt against the NCAA!

What exactly do you believe will replace the NCAA? It will just be more of the same, except this time giving more power to the schools who want football to be the tail wagging the dog.

Chief B1G Dump's picture

What I believe will happen and what I want to happen are two totally different things.

It really feels like some major NCAA tectonic plates are shifting and some big shake ups are on the horizon...

jamesrbrown322's picture

Wouldn't this impact the ACC the most, given the number of private institutions in the conference?

"I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying." - W.W. Hayes

NoVA Buckeye's picture

Duke, Wake Forest, Boston College, Notre Dame, and Miami. 5/14 teams, the most in DI-A

The offseason begins when your season ends. Even then there are no days off.

WeakSideLB's picture

Football players aren't employees.  Seems like that would be a disqualifying point.
I am all for guaranteed scholarships for athletes, and more, but I fail to see how a union can do anything but ruin the team's competitiveness. 
No one is forcing these kids to play football, or to pick Northwestern.  But I do sympathize that if they think they have what it takes to play pro football, that they are forced to go to college.
 
 
 
 

jaxbuckeye's picture

I agree with most of what you said but I never understood the argument about players having to go to college first.  I could do my current job without a college degree but my employer made it a requirement.  Why can't the NFL or NBA do the same?

jamesrbrown322's picture

I love the MLB rule -  if you want to come out after high school, go ahead. Otherwise, go to college for at least three years.

"I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying." - W.W. Hayes

DJ Byrnes's picture

Agreed that'd be ideal, but the NFL doesn't have a minor league system. (Which is almost criminal, IMHO.)

Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.

jamesrbrown322's picture

Sadly they do have a minor league of sorts...college football. Obviously, the schools are not associated with a parent/major league franchise, but there is zero liability for the NFL, so that's a good trade off.

"I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying." - W.W. Hayes

William's picture

I'd say the hockey model is the best. You can be drafted as a 17 year old, and choose whether or not to attend college, play in a junior league or if you make your team, go pro. However if you choose to sign your ELC (entry level contract) you cannot play in college, but can still play in a junior league. That gives the players and teams the most flexibility. It allows for players to play for as many or as few years as they want to for their college, and it gives them the option to go pro if they are capable of it. 
Of course the issue with football is that there is nothing comparable to the OHL/WHL/QMJHL/USHL (all junior leagues). 

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

Why can't the NFL or NBA do the same?

Because the combination of enough kids with:

  1. The physical ability
  2. Financial wherewithal
  3. Motivation/leadership to bring an age discrimination class action suit
  4. Political & popular support

...is damn near impossible to put together.

jaxbuckeye's picture

I'm not understanding you.  Or maybe you're not understanding me.  I think the NFL and the NBA SHOULD be able to tell potential employees (i.e. players) that they must have a degree to be employed by the NFL or NBA, just as my employer says that I must have a degree to be employed by them.  Why can't the NFL and NBA demand the same thing that most other employers demand?

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

I completely misunderstood, we're definitely in disagreement there.

Why can't the NFL and NBA demand the same thing that most other employers demand?

I suppose they could but it would be a damn foolish requirement.
I'd like to see fewer kids who can only read at a 5th grade level given scholarships. The last thing I want is schools turning into diploma mills for those same kids.

I_Run_The_Dave's picture

You are forced to go to college to "go pro" in a lot of fields that are not sports.  So it's not really that unfair.
I think we should be happy that sports are not like other forms of entertainment.  You don't have to be talented or go to college to be a singer/actor, you just have to have parents that sell you to Disney when you are 8 years old.  And when you behave badly in public, you don't get kicked out and lose your opportunity, either.

jaxbuckeye's picture

Bahahaha!  At one time (and in limited circumstances now) unions had a place in society.  These "braniacs" at Northwestern are being played by the union.  Just WAIT until they start asking for the union dues!

brandonbauer87's picture

I see one main sticking point.  Whatever the union achieves would be considered an impermissible benefit to the players. There can't be anything positive to come out of this unless the NCAA adapts its bylaws to fit. The union in this case would be seen as an agent acting upon the interests of its members. That's only scratching the surface. There's a million ways this violates current rules. 

vidstudent's picture

An original, decent argument, but in the end not a valid one.  It can be assumed that such a representation situation would be part of contract negotiations.  (It can also be assumed that, if the players are certified as a union and such is upheld in courts, there will be a lockout and/or strike of players under a union for that reason, and from there it gets ugly until it gets better.)

Nicholas Eckert

vidstudent

elitesmithie's picture

So I am normally pro athletes, but I got to thinking on this whole guaranteed scholarship thing recently. Say I got a 'ship for good grades and then my first semester I get a 1.0. I would lose the scholarship. So should I feel bad if Joe Athlete doesn't perform up to grade, similar to my theoretical situation? Now, insurance for injuries is a whole other matter that I feel they should be taken care of no questions.
 
Also P.S. Public Unions are ridiculous. Unions were meant to protect employees. Why should govt. employees need protection?

jaxbuckeye's picture

Any scholarship can be lost for bad grades, including athletic. 

JKH1232's picture

I'm not that sure of the correctness of your analogy- presumably, you knew that, going in, if you didn't keep a certain GPA, you would lose support.  However, athletic scholarships do carry the same  provision- fail to make a certain GPA, become academically ineligible, and perhaps suffer sanctions at the school. 
An academic scholarship and an athletic scholarship, however, have never been the same thing.  The basic deal, even in our time of one year scholarships, has always been, "Come play on the team, and we'll cover tuition to school."  Culturally, those scholarships have been honored even for busts, so long as they obey team rules, etc.  (Consider how often it's news when a coach refuses to reup scholarships.)  Coaches almost *never* explain that it's a renewable deal, and sell kids on the idea that they'll get their degree, so long as they play by the rules.  Thus, when coaches do cut kids from their roster, it becomes something of a scandal.
Secondly, the academic scholarship has a specific, measurable standard of performance: keep your GPA above this level.  Also, obey university rules (Academic scholarships always include that, trust me).  But what would constitute inferior athletic performance?  We're just going to leave that up to the coaches, and let them decide what that means? If a kid can't break the two deep on a team, is it his fault, or the coaches that recruited him?  Did the coaches put him in a position to fail?  Did he get hurt and couldn't perform to his maximum one year, so he gets cut? 
No.  This is too ripe for abuse, and not part of the understood agreement.  So long as they keep up their GPA and obey team and school rules, then those on athletic scholarships should keep their scholarship.  They actually *are* here to play school, remember?

Colby3333's picture

" I didn't come to play no union."   -CJ

BUCKfutter's picture

Unionization here is completely misplaced and frankly I don't think these guys understand the consequences of going down this road.
1) They are not employees.
2) College is not required to get to the NFL.  If you think it's a better option and you are being exploited by your university, train by yourself for three years after HS then go pro.  It's a choice to go to college.
3) Yep, the universities make money off the kids.  The partners at my accounting firm make money off me.  They own a business.  I don't.
4) The kids aren't uncompensated.  Free education at top institutions.  More gear than they know what to do with.  Free training facilities with personal training from top instructors.  When you put all that together I bet the price exceeds $100k per year.  Show me a non-sports job for non-college graduates that pays $100k per year.
5) All they are going to accomplish with this is either a) wasting a bunch of peoples' time, or b) completely ruining a system that has given a ton of kids free education for years just so the kids at big time schools can be paid.  Once we start paying kids, all the institutions that can't afford to do so go down to second-tier status.  The money they get from playing big schools goes away, therefore the full rides they give to their athletes go away.  So, all this talk of protecting the "little man" is, in the end, going to end up hurting way more "little men" than it helps.

the kids are playing their tail off, and the coaches are screwing it up! - JLS

Youngbuck85's picture

Amen, completely agree with every point. No one is profiting off of these northwestern players names.... Because nobody knows their names. Wish they would stop trying to ruin college football. Since when is a free education to universities that they wouldn't be admitted to without football not enough? Greedy greedy greedy.

JKH1232's picture

Well, one, plenty of people *do* know the names of players at Northwestern, the fact that you don't says more about you than others.  Second, people *are* profiting off their names- Northwestern sells athletic gear like anyone else.  It sells, like anywhere else, even if the clientele is smaller than, say, OSU or Michigan or Alabama.  EA, until recently, made millions of them, without even crediting them.  So, they do have some points- particularly when it comes to video games and clothing sales directly with their name on it- or when people coopt their nicknames, like people selling "Johnny Football" gear, specifically for fans of Johnny Manziel, and not giving him a dime. (Which, of course, led to him trademarking the name, which was a good move.)
Of course, they are pretty well compensated.  Training table meals, school materials, tuition, medical insurance, access to medical specialists, training facilities and the like- and they get these no matter the amount of revenue their school gets. (Tennis scholarships cover the same classes as football ones.)  To me, the problem lies in a few directions:
1) Apparel sales of specific player's jerseys or using their likeness by the university or their approved apparel vendors. 
2) The use of players in video games.
3) The sale of third party items using players, their nicknames or their likenesses.
4) The uncompensated use of athletes to promote the university, in fundraising or commercials or in publications.  (Remember, coaches receive specific compensation for this beyond salary.)
5) The *inability* of players to endorse products for compensation.
Now, admittedly, 4) just might be part of the scholarship.  That said, scholarships should outline, *In writing* the obligations of players for promoting and fundraising for the university.  1), however, is a sticky spot, and I'll admit it.  I think that, given the cost of scholarships, it's not too much to ask players to sign over their rights on the apparel front to the university as a standard part of the deal, but it should be made explicit. 
It's 2) and 3) that really bother me.  Firstly, no one should be able to profit off of a college kid's abilities that isn't the university or him.  So, I think schools should aggressively pursue and sue unofficial vendors making money off their students, or allow students to do the same thing, and win damages.  As for video games, do what the professionals do- negotiate a license that pays both the schools and the players for appearing in them.  Each player gets paid the same thing, and let the players form an organization like a union to negotiate that for them.  If you're bothered by giving an 18 year old that much cash, put it into a low risk, interest bearing account and pay them off when they graduate.  (This does make graduating an incentive!)
The fifth problem is just stupid.  Olympic competitors can endorse things.  Let college kids do the same.

BUCKfutter's picture

Ding ding ding. Nail. Head. Let the kids profit from their names. It just can't come from the colleges.

the kids are playing their tail off, and the coaches are screwing it up! - JLS

Riggins's picture

More gear than they know what to do with.

Well, some of them have found something to do with it.....

BUCKfutter's picture

Agree to disagree on points 1-4.  Point 5, however, I take issue with.  Costs will absolutely skyrocket if schools begin paying kids.  Say each football player gets an extra grand a month, which I think is a fairly low number.  That's $12k per player per year, for 85 players.  That's over a million bucks a year.  I don't know what to call that other than skyrocketing.  Not only that, but we have to consider title IX here as well.  An extra million spent on the (male) football program also has to be spent proportionally on women's sports - so now we've gone from $1 million to proportionally more.  The smaller-name, smaller revenue schools would get demolished.
Do you really think a school like OSU would spend less on coaches, recruiters, compliance, facilities, etc. if they paid players?  Not a chance.  Smaller schools without the extensive booster networks of the big guns would be forced to cut this stuff, further widening the gap between the haves and the have nots.  This gap widening can't help but impact the players at the smaller schools.
The real problem here is the NCAA. You have to let these kids benefit from their likenesses without the schools being the ones paying them.  That way, they are compensated proportionally to their popularity and ability, and the smaller schools maintain the ability to give full rides.

the kids are playing their tail off, and the coaches are screwing it up! - JLS

Jack Fu's picture

Do you really think a school like OSU would spend less on coaches, recruiters, compliance, facilities, etc. if they paid players?

Yes. Coaches are the least likely, since the horse has left the barn there. But programs are dumping unprecedented money into facilities 1. to attract recruits (in which case, hell, you can just use that money to pay them) and 2. because they have so damn much money they don't know what to do with it all.

Smaller schools without the extensive booster networks of the big guns would be forced to cut this stuff, further widening the gap between the haves and the have nots.  This gap widening can't help but impact the players at the smaller schools.

This "gap" is not a problem. The "haves" are the "haves" because they generate revenue. The "have nots" are "have nots" because they don't. If you can't financially support a football program, through your endowment and your generating of revenue, then you shouldn't have one.
Dean: I wish I could upvote your post 100 times. You are dead-on.

Dean's picture

Derp, need to correct a minor error - by "typical musician" I meant, "typical famous musician with a record contract."  Silly me.

rdubs's picture

If someone mentions unions, the first thought is always about pay.  But there are a lot of things that unions can negotiate that have nothing to do with a transfer of money.  University presidents come together to decide a lot of things that impact a player's life, but they have no voice, why shouldn't their viewpoint be at that table?  The NCAA has talked about restricting the graduate transfer policy that would force players to sit out a year even if they have graduated.  I can't think of many rules that would be dumber, but the NCAA could unilaterally decide to do this without consulting players in any meaningful way.
If this gets the players a voice in NCAA meetings, then I am all for it!

BUCKfutter's picture

I agree on the surface, but once you get union organizers in there, it always becomes about money because that is their job and they want to get paid.  This is going to cost somebody some money, so if they go the way of unionization, then money has to come from somewhere.

the kids are playing their tail off, and the coaches are screwing it up! - JLS

popeurban's picture

If this gets the players a voice in NCAA meetings, then I am all for it!

Yes, great point!

JKH1232's picture

I do think players should be involved in running the NCAA, on some level.  I just don't know if a union formed under the purview of the NLRB and the labor laws of the US is the right way to do it.

popeurban's picture

I respect your point, but without this push by the players, I do not see the NCAA volunteering to allow the players to have a say. 

JKH1232's picture

Perhaps, though, I can't see the NLRB accepting the union, since sports in college are voluntary.  Any leverage would have to come from some other quarter. 

popeurban's picture

Almost all work that I can think of is voluntary, hence "at will" work laws.

JKH1232's picture

I'm not a lawyer, but I'm pretty sure you'll find that labor law makes a very sharp distinction between playing amateur athletics and at will employment. 
Or are you saying that student-athletes should pay income tax on all their benefits?

popeurban's picture

While I get your point about the distinction b/w playing amateur athletics and at will employment in labor law, that is not the point I was making.  You stated that it was voluntary, and my point was that almost all work that I can think of is voluntary, yet, labor unions still accept the workers. 
And as we know legal definitions change all of the time; all it would take is a judge to rule and favor of these athletes and their would be little distinction b/w athletics and at will employment.  That is the point of this fun debate. 
Your question on taxes is very interesting and something I had never thought about, so no, I was not saying to pay income taxes on those benefits.  It would be interesting to see how that might change though if they were able to unionize and the definition of them (the athletes) were to change. 

Wilkins78's picture

Here is a cbs sports article that outlines the 11 specific goals of the NCPA/CAPA according to ncpanow.org:
http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/eye-on-college-football/24422752/northwestern-players-start-union-movement-in-college-athletics
It lists both medical/protection concerns and financial concerns.

TilstheHun3's picture

On Netflix there is a documentary called "Schooled: The Price of College Sports". For those interested in the "pay for play" debate, I think it is at least worth checking out.

What is this? A center for ants?!? How can we be expected to teach children to learn how to read if they can't even fit inside the building?
 

Colby3333's picture

And we thought ticket and tuition costs were high now (and cable packages).  Just wait.   The NCAA will not suffer from this.  Wake up people!  Someone will pay and it won't be those greedy high ranking officials, it will be the consumer.  Think about it before you buy into this stuff.

popeurban's picture

So we should blame the college kids?  Maybe we should look at the greed behind the ever growing desire for higher profit margins.  I agree cost might go up, but I am tired of the peons getting the blame for the greed of the executives. 
Why do we side with the powerful over the weak?
 

Colby3333's picture

Unintended consequences.  They are and will still be greedy billionaires and we will fort their bill and the player's bill.  Great thinking.  No body gets cut but the outsiders (the consumer).

popeurban's picture

Which is why I wish we would change the direction of our angst.

OSUStu's picture

I am not convinced that "things will get more expensive for the consumer" is a good argument for why this should not happen.  We may not like it when it happens, but that doesn't make it wrong.

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee

AJW_16's picture

Lots of gray area and nuance here, and I don't want to violate the 11W no-politics rule. However, hearing what Coulter had to say, it seems like player safety, not financial compensation, is his #1 priority for unionizing. For that I applaud him.
Not that the financial part of things is inconsequential here. I think there are good points being made on both sides here, but I personally tend to see the players perspectives in things like this. Kain, I will be rooting for you. He seems like a smart dude who will definitely go far.

"Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you." 

Buckeye80's picture

If they unionize, can they strike?
Can the universities lock them out?

Go1Bucks's picture

Idiocy.

Go Bucks!

SEOhioBuckeye's picture

Complete idiocy and further proof of the entitlement mentality permeating our society.
Playing is a choice for crying out loud.
Why does everything have do be a damn crusade?

"Stats are for losers, touchdowns are for winners" -- Johnny Unitas

I_Run_The_Dave's picture

Pretty soon little league baseball will become outlawed because leagues can't afford to pay the medical bills when a 10 year old gets hit in the face by a pitch or a second baseman breaks his leg on a runner sliding into him.  Obviously the league and/or the team must assume 100% of the risk of playing, right?  The willing participant obviously assumes no risk whatsoever, right?
I'm all for concussion research and schools assisting players who suffer injuries, and to some extent, even assistance after those players graduate.  But the player has to assume some risk here.
This is in no way the same type of situation, but the implications are similar:  I once suffered a contusion in my wrist while vacuuming at a job in high school.  I went to the hospital and they filed it under workers comp and the company paid probably $1000 for me to go to the ER. After rotating it for around an hour before the doctor came in to examine it, the pain was already gone and I was fine.  It's just that the initial pain was so severe that I wanted to make sure it wasn't broken.  I didn't end up paying a dime.  This is a problem, because I'm the idiot that couldn't operate a vacuum cleaner on smooth carpet without hurting myself.