“I think everybody’s just kind of waiting to see what’s gonna happen…”

Seth Emerson speaks to various actors around campus about unionization and player compensation and, as often seems to be the case, the most rational observations come from the student-athletes.

Chris Conley speaking intelligently about a topic is pretty much a given:

“People need to realize that whether it’s by unionizing or it’s by another means, there are some issues that need to be looked at, other than just paying athletes,” said Georgia senior receiver Chris Conley, who is a student-athlete rep to the NCAA. “It’s student-athlete well-being. Student-athlete experience.”

That’s the thing, isn’t it?  If you take the political sentiment out of it, unionization is nothing but a means for student-athletes to get their concerns heard in a legitimate fashion.  It’s not an end.  While I don’t expect the Northwestern players to vote for a union, it was important for them to have the choice.  That’s what’s finally awakened the schools and the NCAA.  I hope the NLRB leaves the ruling in effect on appeal, because the players need the leverage that the threat of a vote brings.

As far as compensation goes, there’s the reality of being a star athlete in a non-revenue sport.  Meet Marion Crowder.

… Only her sport is women’s soccer, and Crowder knows the difference in the grand scheme.

“I think we understand that we’re not necessarily the money-makers of the university,” said Crowder, who as a freshman led the Bulldogs in goals and points last fall. “And I honestly think that we’re all happy to be playing college soccer.”

These are days of change in college sports. And on the campus at Georgia, key figures await the result, partly with wariness but also with a sense that some change will be good.

“If the Johnny Manziels and Todd Gurleys and Keith Marshalls of the world, since their names are plastered everywhere, I can understand if they have a much stronger opinion on what they want and what they see is fit,” Crowder said.

I have a hard time believing there isn’t enough money flowing into big time college sports to find a reasonable way to accommodate the commercial demands of the star football player and the star women’s soccer player.  There simply isn’t enough will on the administrative side to find a solution right now.  That’s why Mark Richt’s observation sums it all up.

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15 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, Look For The Union Label, The NCAA

15 responses to ““I think everybody’s just kind of waiting to see what’s gonna happen…”

  1. They might be able to get the cost of attendance scholarship in place (I support it), but the antitrust lawyers aren’t going to be satisfied with that. Kessler made it clear he wants nothing short of pay-for-play.

    • Not quite accurate. Kessler wants the NCAA amateurism protocol abolished. After that, the schools are free to offer pay-for-play or not, or anything in between.

      • Senator, that’s sort of like being sort of pregnant. There’s no middle ground in his view. He will not relent if the universities and conferences enact what they are proposing. He said as much in the article you posted a week or so ago. Your proposed solution of full-cost scholarships, CAPA reforms, and trading on name and likeness doesn’t satisfy him either. The antitrust suits are what change everything about college sports. The NCAA can do the other things if they have the willingness to do it. The member institutions will fight pay-for-play to the end.

        • If you want to call the market being sort of pregnant, be my guest. But Kessler is not calling for pay to be mandated.

          • I guess I’m just one who believes there are reforms that are necessary without going all the way to making college football and basketball NFL and NBA Lite. If the courts declare college athletes as employees, make everything taxable income to the players and strip the athletic associations of their NFP tax status. Let’s see what happens to the cost to the fan when all of the veneer if amateurism gets stripped away.

            • south fl dawg

              I wish they would strip everything. Tax talk is a head fake – who is really getting the benefit of it is not the athletes.

  2. Scorpio Jones, III

    The money, clearly, is available for any university with a top-tier athletic program to do anything they deem necessary. Yes it might ding the reserve fund, but the money is there.

    The problem, it seems to me, is that schools are so used to gobbling the money they have given no thought, at all, to the needs of the field hands who bring the money into the till.

    That any university official anywhere finds the new wind blowing a surprise is amazing.

    The anti-union attitudes are not without merit. So, Hutson gets the players together and they call themselves an institute.

    • Ant123

      If this continues I guess will hear about some high school players saying they are risking their college careers so they need to be paid too. This whole thing is ridiculous. If the NCAA’s (I’m no fan of them on many things) position is weakened it will be the beginning of the end for college athletics as we know and love and we will end up at best with a cheap substitute that most people don’t like and that fewer people get to participate in.

  3. 69Dawg

    I keep coming back to Grambling. They are a “poor” school that can’t afford to treat their players to plane rides to far away places, but could come up with the fine that the Conference put on them for the forfeit the player “strike” caused. The players ultimately have the power, ESPN can’t sue the players when a telecast is called off because one of the team’s player decide they have had enough. ESPN will sue the school that caused the problem. For the cynic in me, it will be fun to watch. Stupid college administrators deserve to get kicked in the wallet.

    • Dawgaholic

      Imagine SEC “strike” weekend in October when all the players decide not to play. Hope it doesn’t come to that but the players in the revenue-generating sports are getting the short end of the stick as it is now.

      • It would never happen. You talk about losing the PR battle. The players would absolutely be sunk after something like a strike weekend.

        • south fl dawg

          Oh yeah. I root for the kid in the Georgia uniform, not the one that put himself on the sidelines. But I don’t think it will come to that because kids want to audition for the pros; the college game is not where they are going to maximize their earnings potential.

  4. Ron

    The kids aren’t forced to play and each agree to a legal contract. Using the court system to move markets only addresses short term . issues. I’ve said this before…..either accept the contract, sign another one or create your own. Markets work and don’t have to be democratic. In other words, profits can be obtuse when the consumer loves the product and the employee base accepts the terms, i.e. college football

  5. Reipar

    Star women’s soccer player. Good one. I am sure she will be seeing money real soon. I mean just look at the jersey sales alone!