In for a penny…

The NCAA decides it would be a good idea to repeat everything it argued during the O’Bannon trial in an amicus brief supporting Northwestern’s appeal of the ruling by a regional director of the NLRB.  It’s joined by six Republican members of Congress – gosh, who would have ever expected that development?

The truly amusing part’s gonna come down the road when the schools, having gotten their asses kicked in antitrust litigation, realize they need a players’ union to negotiate with and find Republicans fighting them on it. Because, you know, unions and freedom.

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40 Comments

Filed under Look For The Union Label, Political Wankery, The NCAA

40 responses to “In for a penny…

  1. Harvey

    “unions and freedom”
    I don’t think those words mean what you think they mean.

  2. Dawgxian

    Let the presidents of any industry get together to set prices and see what happens. Yet, if the laborers get together to set prices, that’s fine. Consumers get left out

  3. Macallanlover

    Actually, I think we do know the juxtaposition of “unions” and “freedom”, and also know they don’t really go together. You can have freedom to have a union, but that is where the freedom stops. And the bosses will have it no other way, they ain’t about running no democracy.

    • The bastids! What have the unions ever done for anybody?

      Mac, you can trot out all the right-wing wisdom you’d like, but the fact remains that we wouldn’t see the schools and the NCAA scrambling right now to offer long overdue reforms to its student-athletes if it weren’t for the threat of a union.

      • Macallanlover

        Right wing, left wing, you assign the label but the comment was about “unions and freedom” which are not compatible philosophies and there is nothing political about that observation.

        As someone who has always endorsed reforms on the enhanced scholarships for revenue sports, I cannot agree about the NCAA running from the concept of unionization, of course they are. If I see something coming at me that will destroy my business/sport, you bet your ass I should try to avoid it, only a fool wouldn’t want to let unions in. That doesn’t make them a good thing, they may achieve the short term goal of those reforms but they slowly maim and kill the product eventually. No reason for anyone to crow about them being advantageous over any length of time. Not excusing bad management, or the wrong that comes from it, but there is a better chance of reforming that surviving unions.

        • “Unions and freedom” – Good Lord. I offered that sarcastically.

          As far as your “maim and kill” argument, when do you figure the NBA, NFL and MLB are due to collapse?

          • Mg4life0331

            A slight difference in that those players are already paid. I do see your point though.

          • Macallanlover

            Of those, I think only the NFL is not declining as a product, it is no surprise the union has been less effective in dictating with that organization than the other leagues. I cannot think of a U S company, or institution, where a union resulted in a better product, or longer security. Could there be an exception somewhere that you can point out? Probably, but the evidence on unions is pretty, well…evident. Let unionization come to college sports, and dealt with by academic-types, and you have the formula for epic fail.

            • The big three pro sports leagues are more profitable than they’ve ever been, Mac. Two LA franchises had $2 billion price tags put on them.

              Of course, I know that means less than your feelings, but still…

              • Macallanlover

                It is certainly true that you and I see, and measure things differently. I can name you a dozen golfers under 25 who have already made more money than Jack Nicklaus did in his entire career, does that make them better? Thousands of similar ways to show money isn’t the way to decide best but I know this is your go-to barometer. Baseball and basketball have slipped in the public’s acceptance but you can hang on to your position, don’t let that hurt your feelings.

                • So public acceptance trumps money making? Why, Mac, I thought you were a die-hard capitalist.

                  And this dip in public acceptance that you allude to – that’s entirely the fault of unions? Exactly what have they done to undermine the public perception of the sport?

                  • Macallanlover

                    Come on, nothing is “entirely” attributable to one factor. If you don’t acknowledge the strikes have hurt professional sports’ perceptions I really don’t know how we have a discussion. Also, the free agency team hopping changes, defense of players’ bad behavior and reinstatement, etc.

                    I don’t think it is a coincidence that the strength of the players’ union being greater in baseball and basketball has caused them to slide in attendance and popularity/ratings. Don’t misconstrue that opposition to unions is the same as not saying that management can often do more proactively. I feel that way with the NCAA and owners of sports’ franchises. As with other institutions, there is excellent, good, fair, poor, and terrible management groups. Like you, I have seen examples of all.

                    You may feel the “gun to the head” method of negotiating is the best way, I don’t. Short term gains and point in time measurements aren’t the way to determine if that strategy worked. As I stated before, I simply don’t see examples of unions being a success story in business, sports, or large and small businesses. You feel differently? Have at it. I don’t comment to change your position, just feel other perspectives should have a voice. The union issue is important to me because it is symptomatic of bigger societal problems, imo, but in CFB I feel the impact will lead to an immediate downfall of something I feel passionately about.

                    • If you don’t acknowledge the strikes have hurt professional sports’ perceptions…

                      They have, but it takes two to tango. Besides, you don’t have to have a union for players to strike. (Ask Sandy Koufax about that.)

                      Mac, you’re a management guy. Nothing wrong with that. But there’s nothing in the history of organized sports to suggest that management is going to do the right thing by players without the latter creating and exercising leverage. That you continue to insist management could be proactive is a nice fantasy, but it’s not how owners operate.

                      If you were a baseball player in the era of the reserve clause, just how would you have gone about getting rid of it? The owners were never going to stop using it, and the Supreme Court said it was legal. Should the players have just thrown in the towel in the name of public perception?

                      As for unions being success stories, that depends on your point of view, doesn’t it?

                    • Macallanlover

                      I certainly acknowledge the problems with bad management teams (the collegiate situation is a strong example, child labor sweat shops are another) to think many management groups don’t act responsibly is simply inaccurate. I know many excellent management groups and their businesses would be ruined by unionization. And I don’t think the success/harm example is as simple as being just my opinion. The dead bodies are visible throughout the landscape of education, manufacturing, and public sector performance. Sorry, protecting weak performers isn’t really a serious debate topic.

                      I worked for the only non-union business in our sector and our workers were better paid, had better benefits, higher morale, and longer tenure than any of the union companies (all measured by independent, 3rd party sources.) I realize that doesn’t mean everyone would operate that way but it does refute the “not how owners operate” statement….we were damned proactive and never acted because of the risk of the unions winning a vote. Does that distort my position? Of course, but I also knew many other businesses, large and small, who ran their businesses that way. There is no “one size fits all” on either side of the management discussion but I stand for acting before extortion becomes the order of the day.

                    • Mac, I don’t think it’s valuable to extrapolate from business practices in general how sports-related unions and management fare. Management tends to act far differently in a monopolistic setting than in one in which it has to compete for labor.

        • “Goon Squads of the World, Unite!”

          The union bosses are coming to take our golfs away from us.

  4. Mark

    The republicans are wrong on this but allow them the benefit of seeing how unions have overreached in this country, especially the public service unions. As for freedom, the republicans are far more friendly to economic freedom than the democrats have been since JFK. They just happen to be on the wrong side of the players union. And both parties have been wrong on the anti-trust laws. We should NEVER have anything that is “too big to fail”, NCAA included.

    • As for freedom, the republicans are far more friendly to economic freedom than the democrats have been since JFK.

      Oh, puh-leeze. Both parties are up for sale to the highest bidder when it comes to friendly rules to help manipulate the market.

      • 69Dawg

        Nail meet hammer. There is not very much different between the two parties. All both care about is getting re-elected so they can keep the power. Both parties would sell their mothers for a vote, One party thinks they can sell better to the left and one thinks they can sell better to the right. As in all things the people in the middle get screwed.

        • I understand the equivalency you are trying to draw. It is a false equivalency. Republicans bust unions as a form of voter suppression to eliminate labor contributions to political parties other than to the Republican Party. It is one of the many forms of voter suppression that the Republican Party uses. The Democratic Party is feckless as an opposition party but it is not entirely useless because Republicans always need an endless supply of imaginary enemies because it’s good for their fundraising purposes as they fleece the rubes.

      • Mark

        Sure. But that doesn’t mean one party doesn’t favor freedom over the other. When it comes to economic freedom, Republicans are far better at it. Democrats want to take my money and tell me how to spend it, along with telling me when it’s too much, etc. Republicans don’t do that near as much. Are they guilty. You bet. Are that as guilty as the democrats? Not even close. Hobby Lobby is a great example. If the democrats had their way, Hobby Lobby would not have the freedom to compete in the market place via benefits. They would be told what to do and they better like it!

        • I really don’t understand the equivalency (false) that you are trying to draw with the NCAA and Hobby Lobby, but whatever. Since I think we all agree that the product we are paying to watch is the players and not Mark Emmert or Phil Knight or Nick Saban, how do you think the players should go about addressing the massive financial inequities that currently exist? I mean, the players just want “to compete in the market place” on a somewhat level playing field. How is a Republican going to oppose that in good conscience?

        • You think Hobby Lobby is about economic freedom? It’s about whether a closely held company could claim a tax deduction for insurance benefits.

          • 69Dawg

            Yes Senator but remember “the power to tax is the power to destroy”. I worked for the IRS for eleven years and I can tell you that the congress and president regardless of the party write the tax laws to either reward a group or to punish a group. Revenue is the last thing they consider. It wasn’t like Hobby Lobby wasn’t paying for contraception, the owner had a religious problem with the 4 pregnancy terminating drugs. Hey the law of unintended consequences is a live and well. The court cited the Freedom of Religion law passed by congress to insure that some tribe in the Southwest could eat their peyote. As stated above right, wrong and revenue have nothing to do with any of our laws, it’s the votes the law will get. that are the thing. Besides after the campaign contribution ruling the US knew that the Supremes were going to rule a Closely Held Corporation is an extension of the owners. The President had to waste the time just to show his constituents he tried. Teaching Constitutional Law does not make you a Constitutional Lawyer in spite of the media’s best efforts to present him as such.

    • “The republicans are wrong on this”

      The Republicans are wrong on everything.

  5. Cousin Eddie

    ⬆️ This is why politics don’t belong in a sports they could care less about right and wrong only campaign donations. Republicans stuck thier nose in becuase the big donors are anti-union. Democrats will support the union movement becuase of union donnations. The bad thing is none of them really care.

  6. W Cobb Dawg

    For those who are disgusted by the idea of players getting paid, you’ll be happy to know plenty of cfb money is going to be doled out to lobby politicians. If the pols are involved, I for one, am all-in for players getting paid – union or no union.

  7. DawgPhan

    Of course the comments were going to go this way, but seems everyone is missing the point of the post. That the presidents are going to be begging for a single union to negotiate with.

    If you can’t see the pure beauty and market forces in that outcome, I dont know what to tell you.

  8. ASEF

    I just love these verbal Rorschach tests. 18 characters including spaces, then 1,800 words from one poster alone.

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