Who says labor hearings can’t be fun?

This is a pretty good exchange between Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter and one of the school’s attorney at yesterday’s NLRB hearing in Chicago:

Another Northwestern attorney, Anna Wermuth, asked Colter whether playing football was, in itself, part of the education process. Does it help players learn to ”critically analyze information?” she asked.

”We learn to critically analyze a defense,” said Colter, who ended up studying psychology.

If the Northwestern players can’t get certified as a union, maybe they ought to fight for the right to a football major.


Filed under Academics? Academics., College Football

29 responses to “Who says labor hearings can’t be fun?

  1. Hogbody Spradlin

    Shoot. If they’re learning to critically analyze anything, they’re doing better than a large portion of the student body.


  2. DawgPhan

    I really hope that they are allowed to form a Union. The way that schools have started treating student athletes as inventory and the way they handle “inventory spoilage” has just really become very ugly.


    • Macallanlover

      Yes, because your massive, subjective generalization justifies installing a system that has worked so very well. Let the inmates run the asylum, power to the people Komrade! It has such a great history of solving all problems and improving productivity.

      And after all, these scholarship conditions are examples of what you don’t want to have happen to your sons and daughters. Horrible conditions these young people are subjected to, they must be using weapons to force them to commit to a full ride. Let’s all pray for further unionization, and break a few legs if they don’t sign up. Make sure you add the dues (campaign donations) to their new scholarship “cost of living” payments so they can afford to pay their new masters’ salaries. Are you a comedy writer in your day job?


  3. 69Dawg

    Be careful what you wish for. Scholarships are not taxed, compensation is taxed. The players need to walk a fine line. I’m all for the players being fully covered by insurance paid by the school, both health and disability. The pay part is a slippery slope and could cause all but the major programs to discontinue sports altogether. Most countries do not have college sport teams but have clubs. I predict that their are tort law firms that are contacting their advertising and marketing people about a 1-800-PlayedFootball hotline even as we speak.


  4. greeneggboy

    I’m sure football helps players critically analyze information. Then again, so does practicing law but only one gets paid for his time.


    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Damn, so football a player gets paid for his time. I’ve been a lawyer for almost forty years and I don’t–at least not from the client voluntarily.


  5. Always Someone Else's Fault

    Right now student-athlete reform is a bad problem chasing even worse solutions. I think we’re going to make some problems go away only to find that our cures turned out worse than the disease. I don’t have a problem with unions per se – they have accomplished a world of good in their time – but I don’t see how they actually solve anything here. People seem to like the idea simply because it complicates things for the hated NCAA. Well, making things harder for the NCAA isn’t the same thing as making things better for student-athletes.


    • Scorpio Jones, III

      well said, sir.


    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Unionizing football players is a bad idea. They are not employees. The whole premise behind the NCAA was that it is supposed to look out for the best interests of the student-athlete.That’s where the problem comes in. The NCAA stopped doing that and started lining its executives pockets with filthy lucre illegally made off the efforts of the athletes. The NCAA is supposed to be a non-profit organization but it makes, spends and distributes millions.That corrupt organization needs to go the way of the dodo and just disappear with a new organization that really does look out for the student-athlete taking its place.


  6. DawgPhan

    These players need a voice and representation in all of these processes…right now the schools, coaches, and NCAA hold all leverage. And not only do they have the leverage, but they are happy to use it and to also seek additional leverage so that 18 year olds can be exploited for financial gain.

    the beatings will continue until morale improves.


    • Dog in Fla

      Football workers of the world unite

      “If this is what major college football looks like at Northwestern, what does it look like in the SEC? (The answer to this rhetorical question is, ‘like the NFL if NFL teams had minimum wage payrolls and no labor union to deal with’).”



      • You’re talking about Student-Athletes. It’s not like the NCAA is in the football business right? Think about the greater good. How would the NCAA survive without the 800,000 grand from March Madness? How bout those AD salaries? You don’t want your HC’s embarrassed by the stark contrast in pay do you? Who can make it on a tenured professors salary these days? What about the money that non revenue generating sports need to continue? Those horses on the equestrian team gotta eat. You don’t want PETA on campus do you? You people don’t seem to get the big picture. “You can’t have the animals running the zoo- Naval Academy AD”

        ““We crafted the term student-athlete,” Walter Byers himself wrote, “and soon it was embedded in all NCAA rules and interpretations.” The term came into play in the 1950s, when the widow of Ray Dennison, who had died from a head injury received while playing football in Colorado for the Fort Lewis A&M Aggies, filed for workmen’s-compensation death benefits. Did his football scholarship make the fatal collision a “work-related” accident? Was he a school employee, like his peers who worked part-time as teaching assistants and bookstore cashiers? Or was he a fluke victim of extracurricular pursuits? Given the hundreds of incapacitating injuries to college athletes each year, the answers to these questions had enormous consequences. The Colorado Supreme Court ultimately agreed with the school’s contention that he was not eligible for benefits, since the college was “not in the football business.”


        • Dog in Fla

          “You’re talking about Student-Athletes.”

          I’m talking about sharecroppers. “Under this system, a planter or merchant extended a line of credit to the sharecropper while taking the year’s crop as collateral. The sharecropper could then draw food and supplies all year long. When the crop was harvested, the planter or merchants who held the lien sold the harvest for the sharecropper and settled the debt.” (wiki amirite)

          “Think about the greater good.” I always do. No matter how hard I try, I just can’t help myself.

          PETA…People Eating Tasty Animals, which after an exhaustive search for a mammalian response to Bjork’s bear, reminds me that Hugh Freeze must have had his people scrub his beaver fark from the internetz


  7. Just Chuck (The Other One)

    The players’ argument makes some sense if you are talking about major sports like football and basketball where they have full scholarships. Not quite so sure about other sports where a scholarship doesn’t pay 100% of the load and the kid is still on the hook for some fraction of tuition and expenses.


  8. Curious Bystander

    I wonder how this will affect SEC schools since most states in the south are right to work.. Big implications on this.


  9. Bob

    I suggest UGA become proactive and add a BS degree in Football (call it whatever you want). There are a handful of schools that offer a degree to become a PGA Professional (Penn St. included). Think of the recruiting
    advantages. Offer health, nutrition, conditioning, financial mgt, public relations


  10. hobokendawg

    if the term union bothers so many of so much just do like the educated with the small mind and weak backbone do – call it an association !!!!


  11. GaskillDawg

    If I controlled the GA Board of Regents I would direct Jere Morehead and every other Univnersity President with an NCAA vote to SETTLE THIS NOW!!!!! The players aren’t asking for a pot of money. They are asking, essentialy, dfor a set at the decision-making table regarding rules, and perhaps, a cut of liceming money. Not stuff that could really hurt.

    HOWEVER, if the NCAA fights the issue of whetehr players are employees, then the problem for the UGA AA is not whether they have to give a stipend to players. The concern is that players would be entitle to worker’s compensation since they are employees. Not that huge a deal with injuries such as Gurley’s. The huge deal is with injuries such as Eric LeGrand or Kent Waldrop; those paralysizing injuries require a lifetime of expensive care in the millions of dollars. Or, such as the Marshall or Witchta State or Oklahoma State plane crashes reulting in death claims. That is the risk if the NCAA, for the sake of keeping players from having a representative on the committees that suggest rules about practice time and such, goes to the mat and loses. And know what, that is a consequence the NCAA would deserve.

    Poo-poo and make fun of the “union” issue. The “are they employees?” issue is the one with real consequences.
    I don’t care whether the good folks reading Get the Picture think they are employees or not. This gang isn’t the onl deciding. SETTLE THE DAMN THING TO AVOID FORESEEABLE CONSEQUENCES.


    • Debby Balcer

      What happens to those players now? I would hope their future is secure. Wanting this settled so the school or state is not burdened with cost of caring for them leaves a bad taste in my mouth.


      • Dog in Fla

        “What happens to those players now?”

        Not much…

        “The National Collegiate Athletics Association Division I manual includes more than 400 pages of mandates for its member schools.

        But there is less than a page regarding healthcare for athletes.

        Instead, there’s a half-page list of healthcare services that institutions may finance should they choose. Athletic departments (with the exception of those in California, where specific legislation has been passed) don’t have to publish their healthcare policies in writing, leaving players to rely solely on the promises of recruiters.

        In other words, after an incoming student signs a letter of intent binding him or her to a university, many schools have no contractual obligation to treat injuries or strains that result from playing for that college.”



      • Gaskilldawg

        The severely injured players are on their own for long term care. The history is this. There was a junior college in Utah or somewhere in the 1950s that had an airplane crash returning from a game. A married player was killed. His widow brought a workers comp claim for death benefits and won. The universities making up the ncaa were worried about their exposure to workers comp claims. The ncaa dreamed up the term “student athlete” and urged members to always use that term to bolster the position that players are not employees. It was successful. The ncaa and members consistently contend that players are not employees but intead just kids playing games. In 1974 aTCU running back fractured his neck in a game at Alabama and rendered quadriplegic. His future care would cost millions of dollars. TCU had a policy that paid for medical bills for a year but not beyond or for care. He brought a workers comp claim. TCU defended on the basis that he was a student athlete, meaning he was a student who played football for recreation and not an employee. The litigation went on for years and Waldrop eventually lose, and has had zero financial assistance in forty years of Round the clock care from TCU or the NCAA. If Gurley was paralyzed in a game he would have to become Medicaid eligible to get any assistance.

        I, personally, find the NCAA’s stance abhorrent. My advice to settle to avoid the players being defined as employees is what the ncaa should do from its perspective. Personally I am all for the players and they as re just as much employees as are the coaches.