First thing, let’s call all the lawyers.


Vanderbilt athletics has consulted with its lawyers about the dynamics of a union, what it might mean for the school and how to best serve students, AD David Williams told

In other words, time to prepare in case more schools are targeted.

“We’re in very close contact with (lawyers) to help us understand what all this means and what we should or shouldn’t be doing,” Williams said. “First thing we did.”


Stanford University sent a memorandum to its coaches and various staff members, asking them to use care in discussing union-related matters and to avoid making any public comments on the National Labor Relations Board ruling, including in social media.

“If you have been following the NLRB testimony you know that every seemingly innocent comment by university representatives takes on heightened importance in that environment, and is dissected and scrutinized,” said the note, which directed employees to send all media inquiries to Kurt Svoboda, a university spokesman.

In the memo, Stanford provided various suggestions to help its staff “avoid liability.” Here’s what it said:

“To avoid liability you must not:

  • Threaten actions against student-athletes if they join or vote for a union (e.g., threaten loss of playing time, being cut from team, loss of scholarship, extra conditioning, etc.).
  • Retaliate against student-athletes for actually supporting a union.
  • Promise benefits to student-athletes to discourage union support.
  • Monitor athlete’s union student-activities.
  • Question student-athletes about their union sympathies or activities.
  • State that Stanford will not deal with a union.”

Sounds like somebody needs to make sure David Shaw got the memo.

By the way, if you’re looking for new leadership who might be able to dig college athletics out of this mess, maybe Wolverton talked with some decent candidates.

Following the ruling last week that football players at Northwestern University could organize, I called a handful of private colleges to see how they were dealing with the prospect of a broader union movement.

Some athletic directors did not appear concerned, saying they were more worried about other legal challenges facing the NCAA.

Honestly, that almost sounds refreshing.


Filed under Look For The Union Label

6 responses to “First thing, let’s call all the lawyers.

  1. AthensHomerDawg

    “Call the landlord… call the doctor…”


  2. Hank

    Funny how the tune changes when we’re not talking about them any more, the evil institutions who are making all that money and not sharing it equally among everyone, and people are saying that about us. It will be interesting to see how the public institutions react when they finally come out of denial and realize this is the first step at going after them.


  3. What fresh hell is this?

    Little Nicky, sensing the ship going down, has now chimed in with his CYA position stating that “players deserve a voice” (yes, that man has a large set on him). He also throws in a little hedge by saying he wonders what the true value of a scholarship is and that it’s probably more than face value.
    I wonder what a few of his former medical hardships have to say about deserving a voice.


  4. Beakerdawg

    David Shaw is a stud.


  5. 81Dog

    yo, why you got to be hatin’ on lawyers? Members of the bar got to eat, too. 🙂