Yeah, this is going to end well.
Congressional interest in the current state of college athletics will take another step forward Thursday when a House committee conducts a hearing to examine the recent decision by a regional chairman of the National Labor Relations Board to allow college football players at Northwestern University to unionize.
The Education and Workforce Committee will conduct a hearing titled “Big Labor on College Campuses: Examining the Consequences of Unionizing Student Athletes,” the committee said in a release.
And it’s good to see that the committee is approaching the issue with the open-mindedness that’s been a hallmark of Congressional deliberation since the beginning of the republic.
“The NLRB’s decision represents a radical departure from longstanding federal labor policies,” committee chairman John Kline (R-Minn.) said in the release. “Classifying student athletes as employees threatens to fundamentally alter college sports, as well as reduce education access and opportunity. The committee has a responsibility to thoroughly examine how the NLRB’s decision will affect students and their ability to receive a quality education.”
The fun part will be seeing who the witnesses are. Don’t forget the popcorn!
Go get a plate and dig in.
- Keith Marshall makes a funny about Bubba Watson.
- It’s springtime, and you know what that means: this year, the Florida offense is going to be good.
- The SEC’s appeal of the NCAA’s interpretation of the rule permitting recruits to sign early multiple financial aid offers is being heard today.
- A student task force at the University of Michigan found that Brady Hoke likely lied about a player who was alleged to have been involved in a sexual assault? Whoa. We’ll see if the rule about the coverup being a bigger problem than the original incident plays out in Ann Arbor.
- Brice Ramsey, on his G-Day performance: “I was picking up blitzes, making the right reads. I just need to put the ball on. I had a bad day throwing.”
- ”In theory, it could give the private universities a recruiting advantage.”
- John Pennington argues for a rule that would prevent SEC teams from signing kids who had been kicked out of other SEC programs for violations. One rationale for that: “The fact that a booted player could come back to haunt a coach down the road might lead some to hang onto players a bit longer even if they’ve proven to be bad news.” That’s never been a concern at Georgia, obviously.
- And Seth Emerson says the NCAA can’t find a middle ground. Wouldn’t it have to be looking for one first?
Never say Ohio’s legislature can’t act quickly in a crisis.
College athletes in Ohio would not be considered employees under state law, under changes to the state’s budget review made by a legislative committee on Monday.
… The Republican-backed amendment, one of dozens made Monday to the state’s mid-biennium review, “clarifies that college athletes are not considered employees under state law,” according to a House GOP synopsis.
Ah, yes, the party of free markets once again steps forward to preserve cheap labor. And with alacrity! The Northwestern kids won’t even vote until next month.
“I think this is a statement of what we all thought was obvious, and that is athletes are not employees of their university,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Ron Amstutz, a Wooster Republican.
Hey, Ron, get back to us on that in a few years if Corch starts complaining that his hands are tied in recruiting by what you thought was obvious. I bet the waters get a little murkier for you then.
Sooner or later, this is bound to be good for a quote:
State Sen. Michael Connelly (R-Naperville) wants there to be another public Big Ten school in Illinois.
Connelly and state Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palatine) have introducted legislation in Springfield to study the feasibility of making one of the current state universities a Big Ten school.
The measure, Senate Bill 3526, would create a study commission to explore the possibility of establishing an existing Illinois public university as another Big Ten university. The bill passed the Senate Higher Education Committee on March 19 and will be called for a Senate vote soon.
The two lawmakers said the idea developed due to concerns that some suburban students seem to be leaving Illinois to attend other, high-priced Big Ten institutions out of state.
“This is something that has been under the radar but is now getting a much stronger drum beat,” Connelly said. “I’ve got three kids that are college age and we know that there are a lot of kids with 34 ACT scores and high class rank that are rejected by the University of Illinois and wind up going to places like Kansas and Indiana and other states. Michigan has Michigan and Michigan State — two Big Ten public schools — and we thought why not do a feasibility study to see if we could do the same?”
Sort of like, if you pass it, they will come.
The measure passed the Illinois Senate, by the way.
The Big Ten has not spoken with Murphy about his proposal, he said.
Now there’s a surprise. I’m sure Big Jim will be calling you any day now, fellas.
So how seriously is the NCAA taking CAPA’s trip to Congress in the wake of the NLRB ruling? Seriously enough to compel its normally reticent spokesperson, Stacey Osburn, to, well, actually speak:
Stacey Osburn, director of public and media relations for the NCAA, said in a statement that Huma’s concern was “unwarranted.” A Northwestern official has said that the students were not employees and that unionization and collective bargaining were not the appropriate methods to address their concerns.
“The law is fairly clear and consistent with Northwestern’s position, so the NCAA has made no contacts with anyone in Congress attempting to ban the unionization of student-athletes,” Osburn said.
I wonder if Stacey got a bonus for that effort. It’s almost above and beyond the call of duty.
… a better question might be whether schools are prepared for this shot across the bow:
The House Ways and Means Committee, under the direction of chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), is circulating a draft of what could become a bill known as the Tax Reform Act of 2014. Under one provision, tax-exempt organizations – including, committee staffers say, nearly all public and private colleges and universities – would be subject to a 25% excise tax on compensation in excess of $1 million paid to any of its five highest-paid employees for any given tax year.
It’s not exactly chump change, either. The non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation estimates the excise-tax provision would increase tax revenues by $4 billion from 2014 through 2023.
Do I think it’ll pass? Maybe not. Do I think it will stir the already roiled waters the NCAA is attempting to navigate? You tell me.
But the staffers are well aware of its potential impact on colleges and what they pay high-profile college coaches, who are among the nation’s top-paid and best-known public employees. And reflects growing skepticism about big-money college sports programs’ place at institutions that enjoy broad tax protections and whose donors gain tax benefits from their gifts.
“Large salaries at non-profit organizations beg the question: Are dollars really going to the core mission — whether that be charitable work, providing health care or educating students — or is that money serving another purpose?” committee communications director Sarah Swinehart said in an e-mail to USA TODAY Sports. “The draft is an opportunity to discuss whether or not the tax code should provide an incentive for multi-million dollar salaries at non-profits.”
When you start talking tax code, you start scaring the crap out of university administrators.
I hope somebody asks Emmert about tax code incentives at the Final Four presser.
Grab a plate.
- Tracy Rocker sounds pretty no-nonsense about his charges: “You produce, you stay,” Rocker said. “You don’t produce, next. It’s all about playing with the right combination and to get guys to produce with full-speed effort. That’s the most important thing. That’s what I’m working on up front is effort. Try to eliminate the MA’s (missed assignments) and go forward.”
- Bill Connelly looks at how the 2013 FBS teams ranked in order of their per-game difference between projection and reality as to offensive and defensive scoring efficiency. Georgia ranks 116th. He didn’t speculate how much of that to chalk up to luck, randomness or something else, but perhaps I need to dust off the ol’ “regression to the mean, bitchez!” meme.
- Another day in paradise on Finebaum. (Do any of his listeners actually care about basketball?)
- Athlon ranks the SEC head coaches. I don’t get how you can put Malzahn ahead of Miles, but that’s just me, I guess.
- Kirby Smart is coaching defensive backs again, drawing upon his experience at Georgia: “He just coaches us at a different level, trying to get us to understand it from his point of view because he played the position and he knows what’s going on…” They should be awesome in run support this year, if that’s the case.
- Today, Quayvon Hicks is Georgia’s only healthy scholarship tight end.
- One reason CAPA is going to Washington: “One obstacle in securing some of the protections we want is the NCAA is colluding and excluding opportunities for trust funds. To solidify an antitrust exemption would be to the detriment of player protections.”
- Malik McDowell has outlasted his momma.
- I missed this when it came out, but Pete Fiutak’s April Fools’ story about Herschel finding a loophole in the NCAA eligibility rules and announcing a return to Georgia is a fun read. Richt then joked, “If you can find an extra year of eligibility for Champ Bailey and Richard Seymour, we’d find a spot for them, too. ”
Filed under Georgia Football, Look For The Union Label, Media Punditry/Foibles, PAWWWLLL!!!, Political Wankery, Recruiting, SEC Football, Stats Geek!, Whoa, oh, Alabama