“Student athletes sense their moment has arrived.”

Those of you looking at yesterday’s NLRB announcement and assuming that it’s all about the money may not be right, at least not to start with.  I have the feeling that if anyone takes this particular ball and starts running with it, it’ll be about working conditions.

Winter says athletes right now could begin organizing, by team or school or conference, to make demands about working conditions if their regional labor board approves unionization. They don’t like their meals on campus? They don’t like the way in which their program travels to games? They don’t like their coach’s practice schedule? Under the National Labor Relations Act, they would have the right to voice such complaints—even go on strike—while under protection of the law from their company, in this case the university.

There are also matters like insurance and post-college health care.  Or, to hit college football even harder, what if there’s an organized objection to playoff expansion?

None of this is about amateurism.  It’s about having more say so in how college athletes are asked to work or enhance the educational experience or whatever euphemism you’re comfortable using to describe what they do.  It won’t sit well with the control freaks who coach them, that’s for sure.

58 Comments

Filed under Look For The Union Label

58 responses to ““Student athletes sense their moment has arrived.”

  1. Remember the Quincy

    Let’s just go ahead and do away with college football. Or merge the power conferences in with the NFL. It’ll be quicker than the long road ahead that eventually destroys the sport anyway.

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    • classiccitycanine

      You should probably aim your ire at ESPN and the greedy administrators rather than players if you’re concerned about the future of the sport.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Remember the Quincy

        As usual I didn’t fully outline my thoughts. I hate the TV and administrator suits for starting this downward trend. Their greed has been terrible for the sport. But like Mama always told me, two wrongs don’t make it right. Now we have two sides trying to outdo each other in how greedy they can be.

        Liked by 1 person

        • classiccitycanine

          So, the athletes shouldn’t have the power to advocate for themselves because the administrators you labeled as greedy and self-interested can be trusted to do right by the kids?

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  2. classiccitycanine

    Man, I would love it if the players shut down pkayoff expansion. It would be the best thing they could do for college football.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Tony BarnFart

    The SEC at this point should just package up and sell the entity to Athens Bulldogs LLC, Tuscaloosa Crimson Tide LLC, lease the stadiums back to new entity and sign a sponsorship deal that just puts the University’s name on the team. “Brought to you by The University of Georgia.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Tony BarnFart

      *[The SEC schools]

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    • jcdawg83

      I don’t think anyone would want to be the financial backers of such a venture. Semi pro football leagues and pro football leagues not named “NFL” have all failed. If the team is not the team from the school, the fan support won’t be there. If the fan support isn’t there, the tv and sponsor money won’t be there. The fact that only 25 of approx 1100 college athletic programs show any profit shows that the business model simply doesn’t work.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Tony BarnFart

        I’m not really talking about semi-pro in the traditional sense…. i’m basically talking about UGA selling its football team and then renting it back.

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  4. Former Fan

    If they unionize, then schools should be able to fire them. I am all for freedom of the kids and the schools.

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    • jcdawg83

      Employees can be fired, employees can be given production quotas, employees can be treated like employees. I think this is a classic “be careful what you wish for” scenario.

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    • chicagodawgfan

      As the father of a daughter who plays college soccer for a Big10 university, I can assure you the head coach already “fires” athletes from the team in the form of roster management moves. It happens at all major college programs/sports. Also, the NCAA mandated practice requirements are seldom followed in terms of hours, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. An organized objection to playoff expansion sounds like a realistic scenario to me. 15 games is brutal already and these asshats want to stretch it out to 17?

    Liked by 4 people

  6. jcdawg83

    Tell me again why colleges will continue to have athletic programs if this comes to pass. There is no legal requirement for a college to field sports teams and there is no financial incentive for 98% of them to either.

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    • classiccitycanine

      Why do they field teams now, if they’re as much of a financial loser as they claim to be?

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      • jcdawg83

        I see it as a “loss leader” and quality of student life sort of thing.

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        • classiccitycanine

          Fair point, but I think some of those losses are more about creative accounting and being too broke for their lifestyle rather than a true lack of money.

          Liked by 1 person

          • jcdawg83

            Oh yeah, some people are living well off of athletics, that is one reason the programs lose money. The losses are made up with “athletic fees” from students who don’t have a choice but to pay them. When regular students start being asked to pay much higher athletic fees in order for the school to make direct payments to other students who happen to be athletes there will probably be some pushback. I don’t see athletics being the hill the college administrators choose to die on.

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            • classiccitycanine

              I definitely have reasons for opposing student athletic fees, but how is paying student athletes (workers) different than paying student employees in other parts of the university like the dining halls or bus drivers?

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              • jcdawg83

                Most athletes would be employees of the athletic association, not the school itself. The school would be collecting money from a student and giving it to another entity to pay students to play sports. I don’t think there is a “bus fee” on the tuition bill and a student can opt out of paying for use of the dining hall if they don’t want to eat there. There is no option to opt out of the athletic fee if a student cares nothing about sports.

                There are 666 athletes (interesting number, huh?) at Georgia. If each one were paid $25,000 a year as an employee that would equal $16.65 million per year. That number divided by 30,000 students is $555 a year. If we take Georgia out of the pool of 25 colleges that show a profit on athletics and assign it the average loss on athletics for colleges nationwide, $16 million, which translates to another $550 per student at a 30,000 student college. That means that an average school would have to collect $1100 from each student to pay for the current losses and the additional cost of payroll, not counting insurance, withholding, etc. every year.

                Remember, the $16 million loss each year already includes the revenue from ticket sales, donations, tv, merchandise sales, current athletic fees, etc.. I guess a major difference between athletes and dining hall employees or bus drivers is that dining hall and bus drivers are “need to have” employees, athletes are “nice to have” employees.

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                • classiccitycanine

                  FYI, the transit fee at UGA is mandatory, but I agree that athletics are nice to have rather than need to have. I just don’t think a lot of schools want to cut sports unless they have absolutely no choice. It’s not like the administrators want to eliminate their own departments and be forced to have a real job.

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  7. Harold Miller

    It’s almost like college athletes feel a bit exploited. Hummmm?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Be interesting how a judge views the life, working and travel conditions of a CFB player as hardships. Since this only applies to private U’s for now, I would expect the first lawsuits coming from a woman’s gymnastics or soccer team more than men’s football or basketball at the P5 level.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Geezus

    Are the scholarships still 1-year deals, re-upped annually? If so, the union thing will be hard to pull off (IMO). They could break a union pretty quick if the labor has one-year, annual contracts.

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  10. Derek

    If the players unionize and go on strike NOBODY will ever cross the picket line!

    Why? Well, because scholarship football players just have it way too bad. There just aren’t enough 18 and 19 year olds who want to play at Sanford Stadium for nothing but free tuition.

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    • Unless the NCAA were to change scholly limits, those players would all be walk ons.

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      • Derek

        There are no former high school football players on UGA’s campus this fall, and already enrolled in classes, who would show up if Kirby were to hold open tryouts.

        A strike would mean no games at all until the players demands were met!

        Not nearly enough guys want that experience. I mean 85 is the scholly limit simply because if you gave the coaches 90 they’d go unused. 85 is all the demand there is.

        And that’s a sad commentary on how bad these players really have it.

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      • jcdawg83

        D3 schools field entire teams with no scholarships at all. They also play for actual NCAA National Championships.

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        • Yes, they do. What’s your point?

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          • jcdawg83

            No scholarships don’t stop players from playing.

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            • Derek

              Are you sure? I’m pretty sure that Stetson and Rodrigo only showed up because they wanted the free education and the other fringe benefits. Nobody just WANTS to play football at Georgia without significant remuneration in exchange. I mean that couldn’t be a thing.

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              • Gosh, you’re right, Derek. That’s why everyone is scorning NIL benefits.

                I guess that means coaches don’t love the sport as much as players do.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Derek

                  We both know that head coaches could downplay, criticize and offer no help to kids who want NLI money and still recruit and win at the same level as before.

                  That pro-nli attitude isn’t about a coach’s own self-interest and his desire to keep those sweet, sweet checks showing up in his bank account. The coaches support nli it because its the right thing to do.

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            • Oy.

              Fans aren’t going to shell out thousands to watch intramural players suit up. But skip that — do you really think Kirby Smart is going to alienate the players on UGA’s roster by coaching scabs?

              The Replacements is a movie. In real life, the pro leagues experimented with substitutes and quickly abandoned the practice for both reasons.

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              • Derek

                These morons/revisionists say the players caved and didn’t get the CBA they were looking for:

                https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1994-08-14-9408140280-story.html

                We all know the owners begged for them back and insisted on playing the scabs for another week after the players agreed to return, as a favor to the players of course.

                Apparently another lie that is out there is that tv revenue
                was down only 20% for “scab ball.”

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                • jcdawg83

                  I wouldn’t think tv revenue would drop much. Those contracts are in force well in advance of the season.

                  I saw a Jerry Seinfeld routine about football fans. He made the point “We don’t know the players, we don’t know the coaches, all we know is the uniforms. The truth is; people are cheering for the uniforms”. I think there is a lot of truth in that. As long as a football game is competitive, fans will come out to watch. Fans want to watch “their team” play football, they aren’t focused on who is playing or how good they are as long as the game is exciting to watch and the teams are fairly evenly matched.

                  Liked by 1 person

              • jcdawg83

                Colleges aren’t pro leagues and I doubt Kirby would have much choice in whether or not he coached. I’m fairly certain his contract requires him to coach whoever is on the team, not just the players he wants to keep happy. Are you saying Kirby would strike with the players? if so, I imagine that would be tantamount to resigning.

                How much do you think Georgia fans will shell out to watch unionized pro players, especially if they strike. Look at MLB and what the strike did to it. I don’t think college fans would be nearly as forgiving as MLB fans were. Also, if you aren’t paying players and you aren’t providing scholarships, the fans won’t need to shell out thousands to watch them play. Fans could enjoy a game day in Athens for a fairly small sum. I don’t think you’d see 93,000 in Sanford to see D3 level play but with a few hundred thousand alumni and fans in Georgia alone, the place wouldn’t be empty.

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                • If you are right, then I sure can’t wait to sit in a mostly empty stadium to watch substandard football players miss throws, drop balls, miss tackles and put general fuckery on display. As a matter of fact, I can do that already at my daughter’s high school on Friday nights. No need at all to drive to Athens.

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                • PTC DAWG

                  “general fuckery” is a term not used enough in daily life.

                  Liked by 4 people

              • You’re right about that, Senator. My neighbors in Sanford drive from Columbus and Macon every Saturday to watch their college team play. Two of them make all the away games, as well. I drive from Outer Armuchee, myself. But I doubt any of us will continue to make those long trips, if the sport devolves into intramural competitions between clubs.

                But NLRB general counsel Jennifer Abruzzo knows that will never actually happen, right? The goodwill of college football fans, which has lasted for generations, will continue unabated forever. Maybe some good will come from the efforts of college football teams’ unions: the games are too long, the weather’s too hot, the season’s too long. The players have to ride on buses. They have to block and tackle each other. They have to run up and down the field in heavy pads and helmets! Even if they did get free college educations worth thousands of dollars, a great place to live, good food to eat–and even though they have always gladly accepted the terms of their employment–I myself have never understood why college football players would put up with all those inhumane conditions, just to try to “win” a “football game.” I mean, they’re employees, right? Just let them show up on time, punch clocks, work their shifts, pay their union dues, punch out and go home. Like employees do. The alumni, donors, and fans will always love them.

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                • jcdawg83

                  Would you really stop going to Athens and having a day of tailgating, going downtown, seeing friends and watching a football game simply because the level of play wasn’t the same? If Auburn, Florida, Bama and everyone else were playing the same level of talent as Georgia, the games would be competitive and entertaining even if the players were smaller and slower.

                  What if tickets were $20 each and season tickets required no, or very little, donation? Would you really not go to any more games? I don’t know about you but I go to Athens for the game day experience. If all I wanted was to see the game, I can do that at home.

                  Liked by 2 people

                • Derek

                  The attitude that we only care if we have really good players seems to be belied by the fact every fucking new football league since 1970 has collapsed despite the fact they ALL of those leagues had better players than the colleges do. Put a league together of guys who can’t quite make a 53 man roster and try playing them on Saturdays in the fall. Good luck.

                  More people go to Friday HS games in America than for college games on Saturday. More people go to college games on Saturday than go to NFL games on Sunday.

                  Watching live football is fucking popular, period.

                  Its your connection to the school/team/players that matters and puts asses in seats. Costs and distance matter as well. Quality of players only matters as it relates to your team’s ability to compete with the teams your fans want to beat. If you can’t or aren’t winning people will lose interest at every level of football.

                  Liked by 1 person

                • More people go to Friday HS games in America than for college games on Saturday. More people go to college games on Saturday than go to NFL games on Sunday.

                  I’m sure that has nothing to do with the number of NFL teams vs. the number of college teams vs. the number of high schools teams that are out there.

                  Liked by 1 person

                • Derek

                  Of course it does. But about 162 million folks a year show up to watch high school football for reasons that have little or nothing to with the quality of play or of the players.

                  If the NFL wanted to compete with that interest then why not have 90 teams, each of which would present a better product than hs ball? If the draw is “good players,” then they should be able to attract a whole lot more customers than the Friday or Saturday versions, right?

                  Yet they don’t even try.

                  Methinks that interest in attending a live game is not strongly correlated with how good the roster is. How good your teams roster is relative to the teams on the schedule is what matters.

                  We like winners. We aren’t scouting talent.

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      • beatarmy92

        How long does the NCAA exist in this new world though? The NCAA exists solely to protect the schools from the players. An organized group of players’ first order of business should/will be to do away with the NCAA, its limits on players’ comp, and its limits on players’ eligibility. Then they should institute their own restrictions for membership to prevent an oversupply to increase wages/comp.

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  11. ApalachDawg aux Bruxelles

    i thought this only impacted private univ?

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  12. rigger92

    If there is movement to this and private colleges handle it properly, Vanderbilt, Stanford, and Tulane could be the new Alabama, Georgia, OhioST in 5-10 years. Assuming the high end recruits would prefer to go into a players union.

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    • jcdawg83

      They may have to form their own “Private University League” and only play each other if the public schools decide they don’t want to play against the paid professional college athletes.

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    • godawgs1701

      Well, if you noticed how fast every state legislature with a power 5 football program within their borders scrambled to get NIL legislation passed to make sure their schools weren’t at a disadvantage, I think that would be ample evidence to suggest the public schools aren’t going to let the private schools get away with anything that becomes an advantage for the Vanderbilts of the world that the Alabamas don’t get to exploit as well.

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  13. 69Dawg

    Until the Congress makes a law that scholarships are taxable income ( they are not as of now) then the schools can’t say that the scholarships are pay. Now we all know that the scholarship alone are but a part of the free stuff the athletes get now. The scholarship is also how schools cook the books on how much they spend on the athletes. What is the real cost of the scholarship to the school. Well, what is the incremental cost of adding a chair to the class room? The professor, grad student etc get the same pay whether its 200 in a auditorium or 220 in there. Hell some universities will let alumni audit classes for free in the hopes that they will contribute. My point is that a lot of these tax exempt organization’s accounting practices are smoke and mirrors. How does Emory get away with charging what it does for the same major that UGA offers at a lower fee. It is perceived value not actual cost. Emory University gives free scholarships to the children of it’s employees. Hell of a perk for the employee but not income to them. All the major Ivey League schools have endowments large enough to give their chosen students free tuitions but they don’t why because of the perceived value of the diploma. Sorry to ramble on but I’m old and this scholarship thing just chaps my butt.

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