“It’s time to finally end amateurism as we know it.”

Congress fires another shot across the NCAA’s bow:

College athletes would be able to form players’ unions and would be considered employees of their schools if a new Congressional bill introduced Thursday morning is passed into law.

The College Athletes Right to Organize bill, co-authored by Sens. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Bernie Sanders (D-VT), presents a direct challenge to the NCAA’s foundational premise of amateurism. It asserts that any college athletes who are compensated by their school for their athletic ability — whether through a scholarship or other means — should have the right to organize and collectively bargain. A companion bill is also being introduced in the House by Reps. Jamal Bowman (D-NY), Andy Levin (D-MI) and Lori Trahan (D-MA).

… The new bill would establish each athletic conference as a bargaining unit, giving players in those conferences the ability to organize and bargain for changes in compensation, working conditions, hours and more. The bill also includes language that would make sure the current tax status applied to sports scholarships is not changed and that being considered an employee would not create additional tax burdens or impact an athletes federal financial aid status.

Trahan, by the way, is a former collegiate volleyball player.

Here are a few more details about what’s contained in the bill.

Some of you probably won’t accept this, but if the NCAA were smart — I know!  I know! — they’d offer to cut a deal and accept this in return for an antitrust exemption.  It would give them a way to control expenses and get out of all the litigation crap they’ve struggled with for the last decade.

To repeat… I know, I know.

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UPDATE:  I know!  I know!

61 Comments

Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

61 responses to ““It’s time to finally end amateurism as we know it.”

  1. Derek

    So much easier and simpler than just playing football with qualified students as I propose.

    Can’t wait for the first “franchise” to move.

    Liked by 1 person

    • rigger92

      Just begin to game game out what this will do to the Georgia Southern’s of the world, and D1.

      Like

    • Gaskilldawg

      Okay, let’s talk about having every Power 5 team having only honor students playing football. Those outstanding brains will notice that the schools for which they play are taking in millions and millions and millions because of their efforts and their coaches are multi millionaires. They notice that the ADs and Associate ADs are making a whole lot of money. They notice that the school is paying a boatload for amazing facilities. The bright kids will notice that there is a shitload of money in Power 5 football and everyone is rolling in dough but them.

      I will bet those future entrepreneurs will be demanding the same changes to spread some of the money to them.

      Bright kids are no less interested in getting their share then average intelligent kids.

      Like

  2. This bill is likely DOA in the Senate. There’s no way you get to vote on cloture.

    Like

    • Derek

      Who is filibustering it and why?

      Does Tubs get a call from Satan telling him that being anti-athlete rights is bad for recruiting?

      Like

      • I’m guessing the Rs who are anti-union / pro-right to work will probably filibuster this thing.

        I just can’t imagine there’s a ton of common ground on making college athletes employees of the schools they attend.

        Just my opinion. If they make them employees, will the student-athletes have to pay income tax on the value of their scholarship in addition to any compensation they receive? Will these athletic associations be stripped of their tax-exempt status and have to operate completely outside the scope of said universities who have tax exemptions or operate as state agencies?

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        • Derek

          I just think there is tension between ideology and football.

          The pro union folks are in places that don’t much care about college football and the anti unions pols tend to be in places that care deeply about football.

          If you could be against this policy and not appear to be against the players, I’m sure they’ll be happy to do that. Just not sure how easily done that will be.

          Like

  3. Skeptic Dawg

    Employees, unions, collective bargaining. Is this the slippery slope that many on this site have referenced? This very much sounds like the beginning of the end.

    Like

  4. ApalachDawg aux Bruxelles

    get those union dues in so it will be redirected to the Dems

    Liked by 4 people

    • Derek

      Its what Hoffa did.

      Like

    • Gaskilldawg

      No, a collective bargaining agreement is a restraint of trade that doesn’t violate anti-trust laws. If the NCAA adopts that “unions bad!” mindset and doesn’t think it through it will overlook the benefits to it of being able to work out a player benefit arrangement that applies to every player and is affordable to the teams.

      Like

  5. Make them employees and they are subject to profitability questions. Ergo, watch Athletic departments expunge every sports from the balance sheet that doesn’t generate adequate profit. Professionalization will come at a cost.

    Like

  6. 69Dawg

    Well as usual Congress is making sausage. So the value of their scholarships and any grant and aid will not be considered compensation, nor affect their ability to get financial aid. So NIL income direct from a company/internet will not affect their ability to get financial aid? So where exactly does the income come from that will be taxable as an employee? If a booster “adopts” a player and pays him X amount of money to “play” is he going to be a joint employee with the University. IRS has no such rule as “joint employment” but the Department of Labor sure has and they use it to get overtime. So we could have a situation that the players are going to be due overtime for all over 40 hours per week. Now does the class room time, plus the tutoring time plus the practice time plus the workout time get counted in the 40. If so their entitled to 1.5 X their rate per overtime hour. If this were to pass college football, excerpt on the P5 level, is dead. No FCS program must less DII and DIII can possibly afford this. Hell DIII doesn’t even give scholarships now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 69, you’ve hit on something very interesting. NIL was never going to move college sports to a D3 model. This likely does. What I mean by that is a player gets a compensation package but then has to pay the university for tuition, fees, room and board, etc.

      Eventually where this leads if the conferences are bargaining units is that a player commits to a conference and then we get to hear Greg $ankey speak the words from the College Football Hall of Fame, “With the first pick in the 20XX SEC Draft, the Vanderbilt Commodores select ABC, Quarterback, XYZ High School.” I’m saying that a little tongue in cheek I think.

      Like

  7. Munsoning

    Kill the bill.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hogbody Spradlin

    ♫ So look for, the union label ♫
    Right below the G on the helmet.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. MGW

    They hold all the cards until they don’t. All they seem to understand is the first part of that sentence.

    Give the players unfettered NIL and you can probably go on your merry way not paying more than a scholarship and cost of attendance. Keep treating it like a zero sum game and… it will be. You’ll wind up STILL giving up NIL and you’ll end up having to pay salaries. You will actually end amateurism rather than simply allowing amateurs to advertise. It’s that simple.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. If I’m a college scholarship athlete, I’m not sure how much I like Bernie Sanders calling me a “worker.”

    Liked by 1 person

  11. TN Dawg

    Sad.

    No need really to argue, better to just think peaceful thoughts and watch it burn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derek

      The greedy bastards have no one to blame but themselves.

      We shouldn’t forget that.

      How hard would it have been to turn down the damn video game money?

      How hard would it have been to make sure that these kids that they’ve promised to protect have food, shelter, the ability to go home, insurance coverage etc…

      How hard would it be to make sure that the kids coming into school have to tools to succeed academically?

      There were a LOT of obtainable markers that they could have achieved and kept this from boiling over.

      But much like the coal mine owner of days past any expense on behalf of the human capital necessary to make the money is seem as waste and never as an investment.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Here is where I agree with you completely, Derek.

        The NCAA has wasted more opportunities to remedy the situation than I can count. They’ve got nobody to blame for their current predicament but themselves.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Derek

          I know we deviate on the remedy and not the cause.

          The cause is readily apparent. Once you have a kid on national tv talking about going to bed hungry, shit was going to get real.

          Where we go from here is debatable. How we got to these crossroads was pure shortsighted greed. Impossible to argue otherwise.

          Like

        • MGW

          All of their feel good arguments that they think somehow dictate there should be no NIL, or if there is then it should be limited, hold absolutely no water.

          They claim NIL would mean pay for play from boosters…. which is already the way it’s done. They claim it would create divisions in the locker room over who makes more money…. which if it were possible would already be happening as they look forward to draft money, and as they compete for starting spots; there will always be a clear pecking order in the locker room… stars and bench warmers. They claim it’ll make the other sports feel bad because they don’t make as much money… they already don’t; they’ve been second tier for over 100 years, as far as students/alumni giving a rip. They claim kids would blow the money… that’s not your business any more than it is if they blow their signing bonus after getting drafted.

          The only difference is that non-shady advertisers have a set marketing budget. If a chunk of that budget is going to players, then that chunk isn’t going to the schools. That’s all there is to it. That’s their issue.

          And so they’re refusing to change, and lobbying congress and state legislatures in an attempt to either directly take a chunk of that money, or at least make the players pay a chunk to someone, anyone else. They want to keep all that money… if they can’t do that, they want to keep some… at they very least, they want it to cost Nike something more than a dollar to get a dollar into a player’s hands, so the incentive to do that deal is much lower. Take Georgia’s 75% clause for example: Todd Gurley will do an ad for $1,000,000. It would cost Nike $4,000,000 to make that happen. That’s not a great deal… “PERHAPS YOUR $4,000,000 WOULD GO FARTHER IF YOU PAID IT DIRECTLY TO UGA!?!?!?!?!?!?” said the Athletic Director.

          That’s the name of the game: remove incentives to pay players so you can keep as much as you can. Remove as much bang from marketing budget bucks paid to players. None of that other shit matters to them one bit.

          The only place they’re correct (in my humble opinion) is that players should not all suddenly become employees. That would be the official end to actual amateurism. Not their version of “amateurism” which amounts to nothing more than “when we keep all the money,” but actual amateurism. But that’s what’s going to happen if they keep this up.

          Like

          • I hear what you’re saying, but with regard to your last paragraph, college football players are already being paid by schools. We’re just haggling over the amount. 😉

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            • MGW

              I know. But “being paid” and getting a salary commensurate with the work, separate and apart from scholarship and other benefits, are very different animals.

              Like

      • TN Dawg

        Meh.

        Athletes have been the most pampered individuals on campus for as long as I have been alive, short of coaches and athletic department hires.

        Who is to blame doesn’t really matter, the sport as it is known, is dead and with it any tradition and history and purity.

        It doesn’t matter to many, because they are withering old hippies, reliving their fond years of protest. They care not for what they leave behind or what they destroy. They’ve enjoyed, profited and had the glory of having lived their lives out with such wonderful tradition, but they care not the future generations will be deprived of.

        But they’ll be dead soon enough, and with it they will have cheered on the destruction of something unique and special on their way to the grave.

        It is the way.

        Like

  12. PTC DAWG

    I said this the other day, who needs an NFL lite?

    Like

  13. spur21

    That NCAA response made me think – what they implied was- hey give me another bullet I still have one un-shot foot.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. biggity ben

    FWIW, I’ve long desired going back to students playing ball and letting the kids who can make it elsewhere without school do that. Wouldn’t a good portion of the blame of where we are in college football rest with the NFL? Is it not their rules that say kids cannot play in the NFL until they are two years removed from high school? Is it not their unwillingness to not furnish/support a ‘D’ league like other stick and ball sports do really what’s presenting this problem (with the help of the NCAAs ineptitude)?

    Now that said, out of the other side of my mouth, I’m happy we have the talented athletes we have, that people care about (including ESPN), so that I can get the coverage out here in Los Angeles. When I first moved here, those were some dark days, calling around town to see which bar (at 9am) was open AND had UGA game on.

    Perhaps the NFL is in on it with the Universities so the schools can get a few years of that athletes time/skill for the ESPN $$$$.

    Like

    • Wouldn’t a good portion of the blame of where we are in college football rest with the NFL? Is it not their rules that say kids cannot play in the NFL until they are two years removed from high school?

      Exactly how many college freshmen and sophomores do you think are directly affected by this? [HINT: not many.]

      Like

      • biggity ben

        I totally agree, but the same could be said for baseball. How many high school baseball players wind up anywhere but A or AA out of high school? My only point is, there is ZERO opportunity for the football guys that can and the guys that are close, which I suspect there would be quite a few more. D leagues aren’t only made up of fresh out of school dudes, so I would think the pool would be big enough to support it. Bball is another good example. There are tons of players out of high school that want to play than are either good enough for the NBA (out of high school) or that there are spots for. But they have the opportunity to go play in the D league and skip study hall. We’re seeing that start to pop up.

        Anyway, I dunno what I’m talking about most of the time, Go Dawgs!

        Like

    • Derek

      “Blame” is a bit of a loaded word here. The colleges have certainly been to their benefit and give them little reason to change.

      The problem I see is college fans, coaches and administrators acting like they’re in some sort of symbiosis with the nfl. They shouldn’t. The colleges should stop selling themselves as NFL training camps. They should stop acting like football is a degree. They should stop admitting kids who can’t get or don’t want a college degree.

      There are damn few college players who will earn a living in football and we’re doing a lot of them a disservice by constructing a false dream and then using it against them for entertainment purposes.

      Like

      • biggity ben

        But assigning blame is fun!

        Yeah I’m stuck in the middle of wanting Azeez on my team and getting to watch in on ESPN and suffering the consequences of that, or watching what amounted to me in college…which was no great shakes I tell ya.

        Like

        • biggity ben

          forgot to finish my sentence…or watching me in college, and keeping the sports traditions and such in place.

          Like

      • Texas Dawg

        Could not agree more. Make any athlete meet the same requirements as every other freshman that applies. I suspect that would whittle down the pool quite a bit and force the NFL to establish a developmental system like MLB. College is there for academic development, not athletic development. Welding, plumbing, HVAC, etc while extremely important are not offered at your typical University. They are a different career tract and a different educational system. IF your desire is to “major in football” where academics are an afterthought to you, then you should be at a training academy for sports or the minor leagues like baseball. If you want to get an academic degree and meet the requirement for admission and want to play sports (and have some talent), then Old State U should and would welcome you with open arms. The baseball model where college baseball is a quality product but the minor leagues are never short of players (but seem to be coming up short of money lately) should serve as a blueprint for football. Due to the $$$$ that are involved in CFB, that is not changing. The colleges get to rake in mega bucks off the work of cheap labor that in many cases is academically unqualified to be there. The NFL gets a free minor league system without any headaches or financial risk.

        Like

        • … Due to the $$$$ that are involved in CFB, that is not changing. The colleges get to rake in mega bucks off the work of cheap labor… The NFL gets a free minor league system without any headaches or financial risk.

          I couldn’t have said that better myself.

          The rest is commentary.

          Like

  15. Texas Dawg

    This was Classiccitycanine’s response to me yesterday “They’re not going to do contracts or toss out the “academic requirements.” That’s a nice strawman you have there.”
    Well today you have “any college athletes who are compensated by their school for their athletic ability — whether through a scholarship or other means — should have the right to organize and collectively bargain.” ” organize and bargain for changes in COMPENSATION, working conditions, hours and more.”
    When you bargain collectively don’t you have to sign a contract that binds both parties?? What is that again about strawmen?

    Like

  16. mg4life0331

    So now we call people that play a recreational sport “workers”?

    Like

  17. uga97

    Shorter ncaa: Employees should never get degrees…never happens, & never should be allowed. That comment alone just validates that the ncaa could use some more night school while on the job.

    Like

  18. poetdawg

    There may be some constitutional problems with applying this to state schools since the student athletes may be state employees. If it only applies to private schools then it will be interesting to see which gains an advantage, public or private.

    Like

  19. beatarmy92

    I’m against this. I’m 100% for players getting NIL rights snd have been for years. Players would be employees instead of students. Do they have to attend classes? I’d think not. If they aren’t students then how can their eligibility ever run out? E we hats to stop Bama from getting NFL practice squad players to come back to “school” to play for them?

    Like

    • Gaskilldawg

      The bill would not change the NCAA eligibility requirements that players be students and have four years of eligibility.

      Like