Old school

As much as everyone keeps focusing on the money, the real threat of unionization is to control.  Gene Stallings is no fan of the NLRB ruling.

“I’m not for a players’ union,” Stallings said Friday night before his speech celebrating the 10th anniversary of Ability Plus. “First of all, you don’t go to college to play football. You don’t go there to work. You go to college for an education. Education is the key. If you’re going to unionize the players, you unionize the entire student body.”

Stallings noted that one reason offered for a union is the health of the players.

“I don’t know anybody that doesn’t take care of their players when they’re injured,” he said. “I read one of the reasons (to unionize) was so they could get full medical attention. I think everybody gets that anyway.”

Sure they do, Gene.  Just ask Decory Bryant.

Anyway, Coach Stallings knows what it takes to fix things – a little “laundry money” and player dorms.

“Where the NCAA is hurting, you can’t hardly pick up the paper any more without reading about somebody getting in trouble at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning,” he said. “Because there are no longer athletic dorms, when the players are scattered off everywhere, it’s hard to keep control of them. One thing I know about competitive athletics, you’ve got to sleep properly and you’ve got to eat properly. We can’t feed them three meals a day and you can’t keep them where we can sorta check on them.”

At least he’s not subtle about it.

But he’s not as inspiring as constitutional scholar Tom Izzo, who must have his kids ready to run through brick walls for him when they hear stuff like this:

“I think sometimes we take rights to a whole new level,” Izzo said. “ . . . I think there’s a process in rights. And you earn that. We always try to speed the process up. I said to my guys, ‘There’s a reason you have to be 35 to be president.’ That’s the way I look at it.”

People earning rights.  That’s what’s made America great.  Forget those pesky Amendments granting things.  The Founding Fathers never had to coach college athletes.

(By the way, that whole Jenkins piece is more than a little embarrassing.  Comparing Kane Colter to Che Guevara?  Insisting that Kwame Brown would have benefitted more from a couple of years in college than getting paid millions?  We’ve got commenters here who’ve made more coherent arguments against unionization than Jenkins.)

While we’re hearing from basketball coaches, Jim Boeheim is always good for a laugh.

Anyway, back to the main point.  Control.  I suspect this is where the unionization battle is going to play out.

Far less enthused was Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), a former U.S. Department of Education secretary and former president of the University of Tennessee.

“Imagine a university’s basketball players striking before a Sweet 16 game demanding shorter practices, bigger dorm rooms, better food and no classes before 11 a.m.,” he said. “This is an absurd decision that will destroy intercollegiate athletics as we know it.”

Expect a lot more of that kind of talk as things proceed.


Filed under Look For The Union Label

91 responses to “Old school

  1. I’m no expert on unions, but isn’t the only way they could strike at any point is if there were no collective bargaining agreement in place?

    If it ultimately does end up being that unionization is allowed, and the schools are dumb enough to allow seasons to be played without a CBA, they’d just about deserve for something like that to happen. And it wouldn’t be one team striking, it would be all of them, so there would be no games at all. That would make CBS super happy.

    • On the other end of it though, let’s say the CBA for all athletes is set to expire in the middle of the summer, and they don’t have a new one hammered out by the end of August, I’d be pretty pissed if they went on strike and we missed the first few games of the season.

      Building on your post from over the weekend about Emmert wanting to fight to the bitter end rather than negotiate, I think I know where that is coming from. It’s human nature to always want more. I bet if Emmert and the presidents thought that he could take CAPA’s current list of demands, put them in place, and that was all they would ever ask for, that he would be rushing to the negotation table and give them most of what they want, and avoid unionization altogether for now. But I’m sure in his mind and the minds of the presidents, they know that even if they granted all of CAPA’s current demands, within a few short years they’d come right back with a whole new list of demands and perceived injustices. Then a few years after that, even more, and so on and so on. It would be a never ending cycle.

      And truthfully, that probably is what will end up happening. When looked at it in that light, it makes a little more sense why Emmert would exhaust all options to stop that cycle from ever starting. But in the meantime, it sure is a losing PR battle, and the players are suffering as a result (obviously that’s based on opinion, yours may differ).

      • DawgPhan

        So think about what you just wrote in the context of the TV deals that are signed by the conferences.

        A couple of years ago the SEC signed a deal. When it noticed that someone else got a better deal, they broke their original agreement and asked for more money.

        Good for the goose and all.

        • Oh I’m not debating the merits of it, your point is valid. I’m just saying it is what will likely happen, and why Emmert is willing to go down swinging while trying to stop it from starting. As I read Bluto’s post from the weekend, my thought to myself was “Why in the world is Emmert so blind to the fact that he’s fighting a losing battle?” The more I thought about it, the explanation I gave above is the only logical conclusion I can come to.

          Of course, that’s assuming logic is dictating anything. 🙂

      • Hank

        I agree. And, for everyone who is saying this is not about money, or getting players paid, who do they think is going to pay for all of this? I am familiar with unions and none of them work for free. Businesses and government agencies don’t pay for unions. They deduct certain percentages of their employee’s pay and send that to the union. If the new list of demands and perceived injustices don’t happen, the union will be deemed unnecessary to the people paying them.

        • You honestly don’t think there’s enough money flowing into college athletics to pay for at least some of this?

          • Hank

            Absolutely. I’m just saying it’s going to have to come from the players.

            • It could just as easily come from coaching/administrator salaries. Or overdone capital improvement projects. Or recruiting budgets. There’s fat in the system.

              • AthensHomerDawg

                “There’s fat in the system.”
                The fat is being handled.

                “Those cash reserves are projected to be $65.3 million after $6.2 million goes to previously approved projects to Sanford Stadium, Foley Field and various scoreboard upgrades.

                Georgia has benefited from a decision made last fall to begin moving $30 million to the UGA Foundation as an endowment. With the stock market thriving, that produced $450,000 in investment earnings by the end of March, according to treasurer Tim Burgess.

                “From its beginnings over 75 years ago, the foundation today has amassed more than $900 million in assets, and has grown the annual amount it provides in support of student scholarships, chairs and professorships, academic research and other programs to approximately $70 million.”

              • AusDawg85

                You must be joking. No “business” absorbs cost increases without attempting to offset it with increased revenues. Watch ticket prices, parking, concessions, cable TV bills, WiFi stadium access fees, contribution limits, etc. all be increased. It’s the “consumer” who will pay the freight for all of this.


                • They may attempt. But it’s up to the market as to whether it works. You can’t pass it on if your competition doesn’t. And you can bet some schools will decide it’s a better deal to pay players more than to put the money elsewhere.

              • Hank

                I am sure there is plenty of fat, it is a government run system, right. I just can’t see where the players can vote in a system (union) where the coaches/administrators, or any other part of the system has to pay for it. If the coaches voted in the union then they would be willing to pay. If the players in a union school got paid, whether that be in $ or benefits (medical coverage is salary) they are on a different set of rules than non-union schools.

                • AthensHomerDawg

                  “The only way we can generate additional revenue is through the SEC, is through our donors, but when you’re selling all your season tickets, we don’t have extra tickets to sell,” McGarity said. “Your revenue generating opportunities are strictly around football. Unless we increase ticket prices or amounts of donations for seat licenses, suite prices, things like that, you’re really kind of restricted on how you can generate more revenue.”

                  Talk of increasing ticket prices could be coming, McGarity said.

                  Some of this explains why student tickets have gone from paper to electronic and why the reduction in student seating. Maybe even why Double G Dawgs loss of the senior plus spot in the ticket line. The coat and ties want to increase revenue. I don’t think they are amendable to salary increases, player salaries or player benefits.

                  “Georgia, like other SEC schools, is trying to lure more fans to stadiums instead of staying home and watching games on their sofas.

                  “What can we do to drive people to our venues?” McGarity said of a question many other athletic directors are asking.

                  One way, he said, are things like making Wi-Fi available at game sites for fans with tablets and smart phones and improving concessions.

                  Keeping salaries from escalating is a way to keep finances healthy.”

  2. As I’ve perused the comments on this site both vehemently for and against a players’ union, the thing that jumps out at me most is how so many people on the anti-union side have, without even realizing it, completely inverted the conventional wisdom around the NCAA. Once upon a time, it seemed like we were all on the same page about players being generally hard-working guys who make a lot of sacrifices for their teams and fanbases, while the NCAA was a bloated, sclerotic bureaucracy that made itself mountains of cash but served little benefit for anyone else. The mere mention of the word “unions,” though, causes some people to completely forget all that so they can immediately start yelling about stuff like COLLECTIVISM! and DOWNFALL OF AMERICA! To them, the players now seem like self-obsessed agitators clamoring for stuff they don’t deserve, while the NCAA is the brave white knight trying desperately to put a stop to all this?

    Why is that, you reckon? I’ve got my theories, but one of the most prominent is that the word “UNION” just elicits a Pavlovian response in a certain sector of the American voting public — merely utter that word in a hypothetical and you’ve got people breathing down your neck about Teamsters, backroom Chicago politics, the slow evil LIBRUL takeover of our precious bodily fluids and all that fun Tea Party stuff.

    But ask yourself: Do you seriously think the average college football player has any of that on his mind? You think when Chris Conley talks about how beneficial a players’ union would be, what he really intends is to mount the first step in a Manchurian Candidate communist takeover of college football? Or that the ultimate prize Kane Colter has his eyes on is to turn the U.S. into the People’s Republic of America, and install himself as the dictator-for-life of said republic?

    Come on, now. We’re not talking about five-year plans or the Trotskyist ideal of Permanent Revolution — we’re talking about teenagers hoping for a little extra scratch to eat on the weekends (or medical insurance that will treat their concussion-related symptoms even when they’re no longer “student-athletes.”) If you think a players’ union is a bad idea on its merits, argue that, but enough with using this debate as a proxy battle for your own personal political beliefs. We as a country already try to cram enough stuff through political lenses these days, until you can’t even select a fast-food restaurant or vacation destination without someone trying to divine a partisan motivation for it. There’s nothing to be gained by throwing college football onto that pile.

    Senator, I apologize for temporarily commandeering your blog for that rant, but . . . it’d been building for a while.

    • Doug, I’m not against them being able to unionize (though I am admittedly not a fan of unions in general), but when you ask:

      “Do you seriously think the average college football player has any of that on his mind? You think when Chris Conley talks about how beneficial a players’ union would be, what he really intends is to mount the first step in a Manchurian Candidate communist takeover of college football? Or that the ultimate prize Kane Colter has his eyes on is to turn the U.S. into the People’s Republic of America, and install himself as the dictator-for-life of said republic?”

      The only logical answer is “No”. But Colter and Conley won’t be the guys in charge of the union. Players come and go quickly, but there would be some sort of permanency in the leadership of the union, and those are the guys that scare people. Like any other organization, it’s not the rank and file guys that set policy, it’s the leadership. But then the rank and file guys are expected to toe the line whether it’s what they really want or not. So it’s the potential leadership of said union that I’m guessing most people worry about, not the players themselves.

      Again, not saying I’m against them being able to unionized. Something needs to be done on these issues.

      • And see, that’s a legit concern — anyone who’s read “Animal Farm” knows idealists run the risk of becoming the very injustice they fought against. And I’d definitely want to ensure any presumptive players’ union would be kept as free as possible from partisan political influence in either direction.

        It’s when people use even the faintest mention of workers’ rights to start drawing a straight line from “unions” to “socialist police state” that I start rolling my eyes and making the jerk-off gesture.

      • Rp

        I cant speak for others, but my fear of unions is not a pavlovian response. I come to that fear by observing their history over the past 100+ years in this country. I am fair enought to admit that the players should have a right to unionize because they are getting the shaft from the NCAA. But I believe it is fairly predictable that over time the union will attract the wrong type of people making decisions for the wrong reasons in its leadership. Power corrupts, and at some point the union will become powerful enough that it will be as corrupt as the NCAA. There will be no winners here. But so it goes with all organizations be they corporate, religious, government, etc.

        • I get that unions have made some poor decisions and operated under some poor leaders over the course of their history. But when you say that “over time the union will attract the wrong type of people making decisions for the wrong reasons in its leadership,” you could say the exact same thing about corporations or the NCAA.

          I don’t view unions as across-the-board good or bad; there are good unions and bad ones, just as some companies are good corporations and some aren’t, But I do view unions as a necessity in modern society, simply because if we don’t give workers the opportunity to join together and advocate for their rights, who’s gonna do it for them? Certainly we can’t necessarily put complete faith in corporations to deal fairly with their employees out of the goodness of their hearts. And lord knows we can’t count on the NCAA to have the players’ best interests at heart, either.

      • Russ

        Doug I agree with you for the most part. However for every Conolly example, we’ve got a Ramik Wilson example saying how he likes the union cause he needs to be paid.
        Now I think both these guys are DGDs and I can see Ramik’s point but while history has shown unions to be helpful in fighting gross injustice, it has also shown unions can become bloated bureaucracies that do far more bad than good. Starting off down that road makes people rightfully nervous.
        Of course, the bloated bureaucracy that begat this mess is the NCAA and the sooner we find other ways to fix this, the less traction the union thing has.

    • Given the way we’ve had commenters showing their asses lately, I think it’s kind of funny that you feel the need to apologize for expressing an opinion.

      • Not apologizing for the opinion itself, just for expressing it long-windedly on someone else’s turf. Momma may have been one of those leftie social-justice types, but she always taught me to be a good guest.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      I have a cousin that works for Boeing and she is none to fond of unions. She once shared about her trip to see Cats when the production was halted briefly while the union guy who runs the theater set got in place. Seems like he was the only one that was allowed to work the curtains. And very well paid for it too.

    • 81Dog

      Doug, you’re certainly entitled to your opinion, however many volumes you choose to use to express it. But you could have just edited down to the last half of your next to last paragraph and made an excellent point, which is now somewhat obscured by your first few paragraphs doing exactly what you decry in the part at the end that makes good sense.

      • I see your point, but I’m not just making up the idea that some folks’ position on players’ unions is motivated by politics — I mean, they come right out and make the connections without me having to do it for them. And sure, as far as the political spectrum goes I’m probably considered a liberal by everyone except Ralph Nader and Sam Webb, but my position on players unionizing has nothing to do with any hope that it’d benefit the Democratic Party or the left wing in general. My whole point is that to place those kinds of hopes (or fears) on this debate is to completely miss what the real issue is.

        • 81Dog

          you might do a better job of making your point if you left off all the implied recriminations about people who don’t seem to share your views. That’s all I’m saying. Stick to your point, skip the gratuitous suggestion that only selfish Republicans have a problem with whatever it is Kain Coulter, et al, is proposing. You want to know why nothing ever gets done? It’s because some people would rather show everyone their snark rather than stick to the facts. Of course, that’s just my opinion. YMMV.

  3. AthensHomerDawg

    “Imagine a university’s basketball players striking before a Sweet 16 game demanding shorter practices, bigger dorm rooms, better food and no classes before 11 a.m.,” he said

    I got news for ya Lamar. It’s already out of control… teams are striking and refusing to play both at the college and HS level. Things are getting out of control!!!



  4. jadams

    I don’t understand the link between Decory Bryant and medical treatment. His complaint was related to disability insurance not being purchased, not the quality of medical care he received.

  5. 81Dog

    The slippery slope arguments seem to be running in both directions at this point. I think Winston Churchill once said “Everything that one has the right to do is not necessarily the best thing to do.”

    Both sides need to be asking themselves a different question: not can we legally do things (either the old way or some unspecified new way), but SHOULD we do things (differently or the same).

    The devil is always in the details, but when I hear all the high minded preaching coming from both sides, I’m inclined to think that it’s mostly just about the money.

    If you get hurt playing a game for your college, you should have whatever reasonable medical care is needed to treat it going forward. If you play a game for your college, you should have some reasonable confidence that the people who call the shots are taking steps to maximize your safety. If you’re supposed to be a college student, you should be given a reasonble opportunity to do the necessary schoolwork to graduate.

    But, the money colors everything. If colleges dont like being treated as NFL farm teams, then quit acting like them. There are always going to be places like, say, Auburn, where every loophole exists to be actively exploited. If like minded schools want to wade in that mudhole, let them. If your school doesn’t, stand on principle and quit playing them. Of course, that won’t happen because of the money. Too many people just want wins and trophies and either pay lip service to or ignore the basic idea behind college sports, which is kind of an old school amateur principle.

    If you’re a kid who doesn’t want to go to school, and feels “exploited” because he’s only getting a scholarship worth 30, 40, or 50 grand a year, by all means don’t go to college. That won’t happen because of the money either. How is a kid like Cam Newton going to get paid if he isn’t playing at a major school on national tv each week? (it’s not just Cam, of course. Pick a star with little or no academic interest most anyplace).

    No matter how much lipstick you try to put on a pig, it’s still a pig.

    • I generally agree with your overall sentiment, but here is one sticking point for me:

      If you’re a kid who doesn’t want to go to school, and feels “exploited” because he’s only getting a scholarship worth 30, 40, or 50 grand a year, by all means don’t go to college. That won’t happen because of the money either.

      But they don’t really have the option in football, do they? Obviously that’s a problem mostly created by the NFL, but to pretend that the NCAA and its member institutions have not exploited that limitation in the football labor market would be intellectually dishonest, no? At least in basketball one can go overseas and try to earn a paycheck. The quality of competition / likelihood of a regular paycheck may not be as certain as waiting it out for one year and going to the NBA or the NBADL, but there’s at least some competition in that labor market.

      “Substance over form” is a term we use in the Accounting world (I’m sure this is also true in the legal world) that basically means an entity’s financial statements should present the economic reality of transactions versus the legal form (i.e. you can’t sell your building to another company and then turn around and lease it from the same company for a lower rent than your normal depreciation expense / maintenance charges and report that lower rent expense. The economic reality is that you still functionally own the building and should report it as such). The economic reality in college football is that the top leagues are effectively professional leagues in every aspect with the exception of not paying the labor (or taxes for that matter).

      Slippery slopes are certainly going to be an ever present concern, but we wouldn’t be here if the NCAA and its member institutions hadn’t continued to hide behind the veil of amateurism while operating in stark contrast to that once the explosion of television money happened over the last thirty years or so.

      • 81Dog

        If you’re a kid who thinks he’s getting a raw deal financially by paying in college instead of cashing in at the NFL level, nobody is making you go to college. Your beef is with the NFL for not letting you play.

        If there was a demand for a non-college NFL minor league, some smart guy would have come up with it by now, dont you think? And why isnt there one in place? Because the cost of operating it is more than the money to be made, right? So to work, wouldnt it have to pay more, or at least SOMETHING, compared to what you get in college?

        You can make an argument that players in college should get a bigger piece of the financial pie, and I am no NCAA apologist. I just don’t have a whole lot of sympathy for a kid who’s being offered a $200,000 (or more) education at a first class university, tax free, loan free, who claims he’s being exploited. Nobody’s making him play college ball. And if he has NFL aspirations, great, but the fact that he gets untold value (if he has NFL talent, especially) from the training, nutrition, and coaching that he gets in addition to his opportunity for an education, also which are tax free and loan free, is certainly not an indicator of exploitation, either. Go play at a D3 school where balance exists. If you’re a stud, the NFL will find you, right? Sure, you wont get the free Nike gear and the jet travel and national TV exposure to “build your brand” when you hit the league, but we all have regrets.

        “I’m not getting every possible cent I could get” is a much different question than “you’re exploiting me.” They arent 14 year olds making 3 cents an hour at a Shanghai Foxconn factory churning out 700 dollar I-phones for the folks in Bel Air and Berkeley. Those kids take those jobs so they can eat and maybe not live on the streets. This isnt quite the same thing, to my way of thinking.

        • Excellently stated. You have summarized my views on pretty much every dimension of the topic.

        • What if you’re a kid who thinks he should have control over his name and likeness, just as everyone else in the country does?

          • Come on, it is every kid’s dream to have his image and likeness amplified when they begin the recruitment process as it would indicate they have performed well on a big stage at a big school. These kids compete mightily for the right to be “exploited” and for many of them CFB/CBB brings them out of circumstances that often times dreadful. What we are talking about is level of compensation, but any D1 CFB and CBB is in fact compensated in the form of (to name a few):

            $40-120k annual education
            High Profile Co-Op/Apprenticeship Opportunity
            Higher than average access to highly coveted Alumni network
            Pell grants in many cases

            Is the compensation I describe above commensurate with what an outlier like a Herschel Walker contributed to UGA? No, but on the average I suspect there are far more winners than losers. Are some of these players taken advantage of by coaches or administrations who act without conscience? Do many of these kids squander the opportunities provided to them or are not sufficiently encouraged to make more of them? Absolutely, but deal with that issue vs. turning collegiate athletics into another professional league.

            The quickest way to erode value for everyone is to further accelerate this trend toward professional-ization of college athletics and the biggest losers of all — once this thing is completely destroyed — will be the most disadvantage kids who are currently being “exploited.”

            • The quickest way to erode value for everyone is to further accelerate this trend toward professional-ization of college athletics…

              I appreciate your use of the qualifier “further”. As far as I’m concerned, the commercialism horse left the barn a long time ago.

              • The commercialism horst has indeed left the barn and it happened around the time Pop Warner was stalking the sidelines. As you may know from history, professional football lagged behind CFB during the first 60 years of the 20th Century. However, my point is there are no cathedrals and coliseums built for watching NBA developmental leagues or minor league baseball. There are no billion dollar TV contracts and channels devoted to minor league anything. Turn college athletics into those types of enterprises and it will kill collegiate athletics and result in a ‘be careful what you ask for’ outcome. In the future, kids who benefit the most in the current situation — such as it is with all of its many flaws — will view with nostalgia the days in which their predecessors were exploited as the money, exposure and non-athletic opportunities will have dried up.

                • Turn college athletics into those types of enterprises and it will kill collegiate athletics and result in a ‘be careful what you ask for’ outcome.

                  Paying student-athletes won’t do that because the colleges aren’t vassal states of the NFL and NBA. Still, I get your point.

                  But I’m not sure if mine is getting through. Like it or not, through its own actions, the NCAA has set up conditions that are becoming more and more pressurized. If the plaintiffs prevail in O’Bannon and unionization stands, things aren’t going to be the same, anyway. Isn’t it better for the schools to come to grips with the here and now, admit the world has changed, and salvage as much as they can?

                  • Yes, I agree with you the NCAA should cease and desist on selling jersey with a student’s name on it or otherwise selling rights to that same name or likeness. I believe much of that is happening or already happened.

                    Also, to be clear, I am not opposed to some modest $2-5k per semester stipend or pocket money initiatives. However, that is not without complication as I am sure the Title IX crowd will insist it apply to girls lacrosse, equestrian, etc. and perhaps it should. Also, would it apply to DII & DIII programs? If so, expect more non-revenue sports/scholarships/programs to be discontinued and again — who ultimately gets harmed by that? Once again, it will be the ‘exploited.’

            • 81Dog

              That’s a pretty good point I never thought about making. Isnt one of the reasons these kids go to a Brand Name School to play that THE EXPOSURE THEY GET WILL ENHANCE THE SUBSEQUENT VALUE OF THEIR PERSONAL BRAND?

              Now, not all of these kids are going to end up as ten year All Pros in the NFL (good luck convincing them of that on the front end),. The ones who flame out really havent lost much, the ones who excel cash in pretty decently. So, the players are exploiting the schools somewhat, too, n’est pas?

          • 81Dog

            Let’s set aside, for a moment, that for 99% plus, that control is fairly illusory, since nobody is clamoring to reproduce either (your experience may be different, I don’t know)

            If you’re a 17 year old football prodigy, nobody is forcing you to “give” your control over your name and likeness to UGA (despite the fact that, except for a very few players, nobody would pay you $5 for the rights). If you’re Todd Gurley two years ago, you can hold onto to those rights. Just don’t go to UGA, or Alabama, etc. How much value is added to Todd Gurley’s name and likeness (not picking on Todd. You could say Johnny Football, Tebow, whoever) by being showcased as UGA’s starting TB on national TV, magazines, media guides, websites? Are you sending Todd Gurley a check every time you post about him and you get 100,000 extra page hits? So, are you exploiting him? UGA surely benefits from having him on the team, selling merchandise, etc. But UGA doesn’t slap a lien on his earning rights when he leaves the program, either. Todd doesn’t totally cash in at UGA, but the “increase in brand value” or whatever the marketing weasels call it is very real. So, again, the question isn’t exploitation, to me. Todd gets a very real benefit (consider it like price appreciation on a piece of real estate) over his (likely) three years at UGA. UGA may get the income, but Todd gets a nice bump in his own long term value.

            You can argue, fairly, that Todd may deserve a piece of the income stream (or not), but he isn’t getting “exploited” in the sense of ruthlessly made to enrich his masters while getting left with nothing for himself. So, if he wants to control his own name and likeness “like everyone else,” he can refuse to let UGA control them. He takes the benefits offered, he signs up for the “lack of control,” too. But to ignore the fact that he is getting substantial, tax free, interest free benefits from the deal is a little bit more than I’m willing to concede.

            • That’s a nice try, but you’re glossing over the fact that an 18-year old kid is asked to sign over rights like that – something which may very be soon be declared an antitrust violation, by the way – without being allowed to seek professional advice about what he’s getting ready to obligate himself to.

              To me, that’s textbook exploitation.

              • 81Dog

                Who died and made you Elena Kagan?🙂

                I’m not glossing it over at all, and while it may or may not be an antitrust violation, a bridge we can jump off when we arrive there, who says a kid can’t seek professional advice before signing a contract? Don’t his parents/guardians have to sign, too? Have I misunderstood NCAA rules so badly that I am confused about whether a parent or guardian (much less a kid) can consult a licensed attorney about the legal ramifications of what he is, or isn’t about to sign?

                I could just as easily say you’re glossing over the real benefits these poor athletic urchins receive by redefining the term “exploited.” However, I think the issue isn’t how many coats of gloss I’m applying, it’s simply at what point on the continuum between slavery and absolute laissez faire capitalism you think players are currently located. I dont have a complaint about players getting more, or different, benefits for their efforts, depending on what they are. But they, or you, lose me at the point where they’re portrayed as the modern day equivalent of the powerless rabble working in some Victorian era shirt factory. Football is a tough sport, and the players work and train very hard, but if they want to be pros, nobody makes them go to college. They aren’t exactly victims here, that’s all I’m saying.

                • … who says a kid can’t seek professional advice before signing a contract?

                  The NCAA. That’s one reason why you see states take an occasional stab at passing some sort of student-athlete bill of rights. I think you can find a couple of posts in the archives about that.

                  • Senator – I’m all about having this debate in an open and honest forum such as this, but it really blows my mind that so many people that take the stance against player compensation are under the false assumption that players can obtain professional representation without sacrificing their eligibility. There’s probably a joke to be made about “uninformed voters” layered in that observation, but I’m above that sort of thing.😉

                    81Dog – my comment was not a shot at you as I’ve enjoyed your well-reasoned points, but just an observation I’ve had about many people that are on the non-player compensation side of this debate.

                    • Keep in mind, the focus of this post is on the subject of control, not money. I have a hard time understanding how anyone thinks that’s close to a level playing field now and why the status quo is justified.

                    • That’s fair and I’ve probably strayed a bit off topic. Control is nowhere near a level playing field and that has to change first before compensation becomes the overriding topic.

                    • 81Dog

                      no shot assumed here, dude. We’re all just spitballing, really. I certainly understand the NCAA has a no agent rule. My issue with the whole discussion is how it’s being framed (not by you or the Senator) by the most rabid partisans on both sides. It’s kind of a conversation killer when the starting point for the argument, whichever side you’re on, seems to be “I have all the answers, and if you disagree it’s because you’re greedy, a ruthless exploiter, anti-capitalist, idiot.”

                      I’m sure there’s a larger lesson there someplace.🙂 Me, I always thought it was what you learned after you know it all that really counts. I could be wrong.

                  • 81Dog

                    I was referring to attorneys, not agents, as the next sentence in my post clearly indicates.. I’m not aware of any rules that prohiibit consulting a lawyer about the terms of a letter of intent or a scholarship. If you say that’s a rule, it shouldnt be a rule. I dont have a problem with the “no agent” rule, but it’s hard for me to justify a “you can’t talk to a lawyer about what this document we want you to sign means” rule, if there is one.

                    • The NCAA doesn’t distinguish. An 18-year old can’t consult a lawyer about what the NLI he’s about to sign means. Nor can his parents.

                      Now the reality is that who’s to know if that happens. But the other part of that is that you can’t act on any advice the lawyer gives you… because then, they’d know.

                • By the way, I don’t think the Northwestern kids are claiming to be victims. I think their message is more along the lines of “College football, your business model has mutated significantly since Walter Byers invented the concept of the student-athlete. Now that’s made you a lot of money, which is great, but it’s also led to increased demands on our time that are significant. And you won’t even consider giving us any sort of outlet to seek redress. That ain’t right. So if you won’t listen to our complaints voluntarily, then we’ve got no choice but to take things into our own hands. Either way, you’re gonna have to lighten up on this control thing.”

                  • 81Dog

                    I’m not against change, and would in fact agree that some changes are necessary. The question is what changes, and who makes them, and who enforces them?

                    With that much money on the proverbial table, there are going to be plenty of people trying to jump in front of the parade whose primary goal is to cut themselves into the action. While that’s not a reason to abstain from changes, it’s certainly a reason to be careful about what we agree to in advance of an actual plan. The road to hell is paved with good intention, as I recall Bullet Bob pointing out (in the middle of a rant about Jake Gibbs and Charley Connerly).

                    I can’t wait to hear how the pot is going to be divided with non-revenue sports and womens sports, too. Or are we just going to ignore Title IX? Let me start the ball rolling: I think all college athletes should get the same guarantee of medical treatment, safety (as much as is possible) and opportunity for academic success, and let the athletic department pay for it. Socialism? Not to me. Let the football players go form a team, call it the Athens Alley Exiters, and sell the TV rights and see what they get. UGA does add a lot of value, and started with a lot of brand equity, so to speak, before any of the current players were even born. So, the money can be spent to benefit THE UNIVERSITY, without turning it into socialism.

                    How’s that?

        • Those are certainly all valid points and I think the term exploited is being thrown around pretty loosely these days with respect to the current situation.However, it still doesn’t change the fact that there is a restricted labor market w/no other form of compensation for a person whose sole skill is that of football player and not college student. Let’s be real – there’s a significant portion of “student-athletes” that are only in college right now because they play a sport very well and that will never benefit from that experience in college. With APR and whatnot, the only incentive for a lot of these colleges is to bury those guys in underwater basket-weaving type classes to keep them eligible. As you stated, there’s a lot to be said about the advantages you enjoy as an athlete at a big-time program like Georgia and the opportunity you have if you take utilize those advantages. However, we’d be lying to ourselves if we didn’t recognize that majors like “Rec and Leisure Studies” and “Consumer Economics” are nothing more than athlete eligibility majors that provide no meaningful post-graduate opportunities. Again – personal responsibility abides on both sides here, but a lot of schools force these kids into majors, so really how meaningful is that tax-free scholarship when this is such a pervasive problem across many institution? I won’t go so far to call that “exploitation”, but it’s somewhere along those lines.

          The NCAA and the member institutions could have nipped this in the bud years ago by taking on the Olympic model and allowing athletes to capitalize on their own names from outside the schools, but that opportunity is long gone now.

          • 81Dog

            I dont know that the Olympic model is any less possible now than ever, or makes any less sense now than ever. It seems somewhat reasonable, on the surface, but there is a whole other layer (individual colleges) of entities who have both a substantial investment in the current system and a considerable amount of equity in whatever the value of the UGA football team is. If you disagree, consider that UGA didn’t stop playing football when Herschel, or Hines Ward, or Matt Stafford, or anyone else left, and the value (tv rights, etc.) of the UGA Football brand seems to just keep going up.

            One problem with this whole discussion is instead of saying, what would be the best way to do this from scratch, it seems to be a good bit of “let’s try and graft as much NFL style stuff on the college model as possible.” So instead of a camel, when we want a racehorse, we end up with a slightly different camel.

  6. I don’t care if players organize or not, but when true pay-for-play beyond a stipend becomes the norm in college sports, I will likely find other things to do on fall Saturdays. I won’t make a contribution, buy a PSL, purchase a ticket, or watch a single minute of the WWL.

    • 69Dawg

      Well well take your ball and go home, it’s your right to punish yourself to try and punish others but guess what no one will miss you when your gone.

      • My point is that we eventually all have to pay for the increased operating cost. I absolutely support full-cost of attendance scholarships, five-year scholarship commitments, and the ability for athletes to trade on their likeness and to get jobs that don’t interfere with their academic and athletic commitments. What I don’t support is the change of the relationship between student-athlete and the university to one of employer-employee. I support their treatment as any other student on the campus of the university. What about that is unreasonable?

      • He would not be punishing himself. If he wanted to contribute time and money to what he described there is already a superior product that provides that brand of football — it is called the NFL.

  7. Irishdawg

    “And lord knows we can’t count on the NCAA to have the players’ best interests at heart, either.”

    No, we can’t, and I’m generally supportive of the players getting taken care of for all the hard work they put in. But I also share the Reverend’s trepidation about who will head any sort of player’s union, and that they will exploit the players as much as the NCAA does.

    • Debby Balcer

      I share your fear that if not done right we will have two groups who supposedly have the students self interest taking care of their own self interest and the student’s welfare will not be any better.

    • Cojones

      Let’s don’t contend with strawman issues like “Who will run the player’s union?” and insert our union paranoia into the conversation.

      Who on here has actually dealt with a union on a first hand basis? Get several opinions from those people before dismissing unions as bad or are purported to be headed by outlaws. I was taught the importance of union contracts by my management boss, a Director, who used his Plumber’s Union he belonged to when he first worked with his Dad as an example. He did this before he allowed me to take over a section that had union employees in order that I was aware of what had been negotiated in good faith between the company and the union. Funny how the company management never blamed the union whenever we had tough business times.

      We had a significant snowstorm that drifted East-West roads from farms to the plant. My union steward made it in to work just as many others did who lived nearby to the plant, but this was a disastrous storm that kept 75% unable to physically make it there. The union steward approached me concerning allowing union employees present to “sign” for more than one job(they had the right to sign for jobs they were qualified for according to seniority) and she was taking on three of them. We completed over 60% of scheduled product production with the skeleton force. The Chemical Workers Union that they represented didn’t blink an eye as to contract and neither did management. Neither one gave any power up, but rather worked our ass off together to get the job done. The union was a responsible union with the company’s best interest at heart. These unions don’t make front page like others that we perceive as having power over us on a national scale. Don’t lump them all together in your mind if you haven’t had first-hand experience.

      I was brought up in a “Roosevelt was a communist.” and “Unions are bad.” home. I was a country boy concerning those subjects and all that I learned in the media about unions was bad. Things change when you learn continually through life.

      • Debby Balcer

        I don’t think unions are bad per se but the student athletes we are dealing with turn over every 3-5 years depending on skill or injury. So I assume there will be reps that are not current players. My concern is power corrupts and it corrupts most everyone. How do we make sure the students needs are truly met?

      • AthensHomerDawg

        Sooooo…. “We completed over 60% of scheduled product production with the skeleton force.” and that work force was 25% of your standard operating crew. Pardon me Conjones but your daily crew is sandbagging and it looks like you could bag half of them and still get your daily production quota done. By the way… did the gal that took on three jobs get paid for all three simultaneously?
        just sayin’

  8. 69Dawg

    As pointed out above the players have the power union or no union. If, like Grambling, the grievances are great enough the team can walk. Now who’s going to get fired when that happens? Let’s look at Grambling, the coach and the AD got fired; the school had to pay for the forfeit and the players got what they wanted. Heck it won’t take the whole team walking. Think if Gurley got real pissed and said so and then decided to just transfer. While I think Richt would survive it, the fans would not be happy. I think this is the real reason behind the NCAA’s one year sit out rule. They don’t want the players to be able to wholesale transfer from a team so they put this threat into the system. This action by the Northwestern player has the ability to spread even if a union is denied.

  9. Dog in Fla

    Stallings, Spurrier, Izzo,Boeheim and Lamar would be all-in with the Food n’ Funerals Plan to fix The NCAA

    “Making sure students are fed, making sure if there’s an emergency at home and mom gets very sick or dad passes away, they have an ability to get home to attend the funeral.” It’s the Arne Duncan “Food n’ Funerals Plan” to fix the NCAA.”

    In an unrelated coincidence, “[i]t is March Madness, after all, when the NCAA makes 90% of its billion-dollar budget….Bill Maher uncorked the most viral tweet of his life when he wrote over the weekend, “March Madness is a stirring reminder of what America was founded on: making tons of money off the labor of unpaid black people.”


    • 81Dog

      typical Bill Maher. I must have missed the part where the players in March Madness were the victims of slavery. He may not be elevating the discussion at all, but his audience loves him. The other 98% of America just sees him for the no solution jackass that he is.

  10. AthensHomerDawg

    “Despite the UAW’s attempt to do for the South what it has done to Detroit, the South can continue to practice entrepreneurial federalism.”

    George F. Will is a Washington Post columnist.


    • W Cobb Dawg

      Of course cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver, etc. etc. – i.e. very successful cities, don’t have any unions. So one (1) failed city represents ALL other successful cities.

      George Will indeed. A man who can talk and write out of his a$$ at the same time. And where exactly is his non-union, capitalist, utopian city in the south?

      • 81Dog

        well, I’m pretty sure it ain’t Smyrna.🙂

      • Dog in Fla

        Petersburg, Virginia and Birmingham, which the UAW forced into bankruptcy


        Aside from labor law, George is also an expert on inner-city culture, other things Roger Ailes does not like and things Roger Ailes likes such as conservative victimhood, McCarthy and dogwhistles


      • AthensHomerDawg

        Gee Cobb Dawg… Well alrighty then… I’ll just pick a couple of your success stories.

        Mayor Gavin Newsom — San Francisco

        Deficit through FY2011: $483,000,000

        per capita: $600

        San Francisco is extremely liberal. That’s the only explanation for how the city can run a deficit every year in the past decade and not set off widespread panic. As for the mayor, he would rather please all his constituents and then get out of dodge, next year, when he runs for lieutenant governor

        But with a deficit soaring to $787 million by 2012, the young mayor may finally confront the budget. “We’ve go to make the tough choices this year,” Newsom told the Chronicle. “It’s so easy to kick the can down the road … but for every delayed decision, we will pay the price year after year.” Newsome’s budget plan includes seizing half of a $25 million reserve fund — the maximum allowed — and save $100 million through extensive furloughs. Job cuts are likely and pension cuts will be on a June ballot.

        Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/americas-most-bankrupt-cities-2010-4?op=1#ixzz2xaSgobXa

        Mayor Mike Bloomberg — New York City

        Mayor Mike Bloomberg — New York CityDeficit through FY2011: $4,900,000,000

        per capita: $590

        At least Bloomberg is proactive. The mayor began drastic agency cuts in 2009, pocketing a nice $2.9 billion surplus, to prepare for the incredible deficit in 2011.

        Next step is another $1.6 billion cuts from city agencies. That means eliminating four swimming pools, a homeless center, fire alarm boxes (to stop hoax calls), according to the Economist. He’s also cutting 4,286 jobs.

        Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/americas-most-bankrupt-cities-2010-4?op=1#ixzz2xaRkDogy

  11. Macallanlover

    Easier to find coherent sfatements from those who fear unions than any logical statement in support of them.

    • Always Someone Else's Fault

      “Much easier to find what you’re looking for” would be another way of putting

      • Macallanlover

        I stand by my statement, it is difficult to find an intelligent observation on why we need unions, and specifically how unions will not bring CFB to its knees. There are enough problems with loss of personal accountability and initiative in this country without spreading the union mentality.