Category Archives: Look For The Union Label

The NLRB changes its mind.

The Federal labor board just overturned its standing ruling (h/t) that denied collective bargaining rights to teaching and research assistants, the ruling that schools relied on to fight the Northwestern football players’ attempt to unionize.

The NLRB said that a previous ruling by the board — that these workers were not entitled to collective bargaining because they are students — was flawed. The NLRB ruling, 3 to 1, came in a case involving a bid by the United Auto Workers to organize graduate students at Columbia University. The decision reverses a 2004 decision — which has been the governing one until today — about a similar union drive at Brown University.

The ruling largely rejects the fights of previous boards over whether teaching assistants should be seen primarily as students or employees. They can be both, the majority decision said.  [Emphasis added.]

If college presidents’ sphincters make a sound when they tighten, then should you listen carefully, that’s what you can hear in the background.  You can bet somebody is going to make another run at unionizing college football players.  It’s just a matter of time.

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Kids these days. When I was in school…

So the P5 conferences announced with some fanfare yesterday a series of proposals to give student-athletes back some of their free time that has been steadily encroached upon over the years in the name of amateurism because college coaches are paid ever increasing big bucks to win.  They even gave the proposals a catchy name, Flex 21.

What’s interesting about the proposals themselves is how they illustrate the degree to which these kids have had their time in college taken away from them.

FLEX 21

In Season
Current Rule
• No countable athletically related activities during one calendar day per week
• Travel day related to athletics participation may be considered a day off

Proposed Changes
• Travel days may not count as days off

Academic Year
Current Rule
• No countable athletically related activities during two calendar days per week outside the season.

Proposed Changes
• 14 Additional Days off. Can be used during or outside the season

Overnight
Current Rule
• No countable athletically related activities between midnight and 5 a.m.

Proposed Changes
• 8-hour block of free time, any time between 9:00 pm to 6:00 am.

Postseason
Current Rule
• Varies by sport

Proposed Changes
• 7-day recovery time

I’m sure many of you are prepared to jump up and loudly proclaim that this is what student-athletes bargained for when they received their scholarships, but I’m just wondering how many other college kids on scholarship have had to surrender their lives to such an extent.

In all, it’s pretty pathetic.  Good thing playing D-1 football is not a job.

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Same as it ever was.

For all you amateurism romantics who believe nothing’s changed in the wide, wide world of college sports that justifies any demand that student-athletes deserve something more than the traditional scholarship, room and board arrangement, allow Jeremy Foley, of all people, to retort.

Jeremy Foley, who is retiring as Florida athletic director on Oct. 1, notes how much longer the seasons are then when he first got to the school in 1976. Back then, he said, there were 10 football games and now there are 12 with as many as 15 now for those who advance in the postseason. Basketball has gone from 27 games to 31 regular season games and the NCAA tournament has expanded.

It’s not just that, of course, and the linked article touches on many other time demands that have cropped up as the money being paid to schools has ratched up:  mandatory summer practice hours, weird TV times, to name just a couple.

The point is that the world has changed and the way these kids are being compensated for their time and effort needs to change, as well.

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The adults in the room

It’s funny, but I often find the comments from student-athletes about the major issues facing college athletics to be far more thoughtful than those coming from the people running college athletics.

Now that I think about it, I should probably come up with a more accurate adjective than funny.

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Example #14765 of how the NLI is the best deal in sports

To some extent, this…

… explains this.

A chaotic week that saw Baylor not only lose coach Art Briles, but also its AD and president in the wake of a sexual assault scandal, has decimated the Bears’ 2017 recruiting class, and seven freshmen from Baylor’s 2016 class have asked, or plan to ask, for releases from their scholarships, according to an ESPN report.

On Wednesday night FOX Sports spoke to Collis Cobb, the father of one of those seven players, Parrish Cobb, a highly regarded cornerback. The elder Cobb told FOX that they filed to get his son’s release from his LOI on Saturday, two days after Briles was let go, and someone in Baylor’s compliance office told him they weren’t willing to do it. Baylor has a 30-day deadline to respond to each recruit’s request for a release and without that release, the recruit is not allowed to have any contact with another school.  [Emphasis added.]

Could you possibly be more tone deaf if you tried?

On Wednesday Collis Cobb said he got a visit from Jim Grobe, Baylor’s new acting head coach, and three other staffers who visited his home in Waco to try to convince them to stick with Baylor. The elder Cobb said it was a “good visit, but we let them know my son wants to pursue other options. His mind is made up.”

The Cobbs’ biggest concern is the uncertainty around Baylor. “Right now, we don’t know the status of Baylor’s football program,” Collis Cobb said. “We don’t know if (the current coaching staff) is going be there through 2017 or 2018. No one can give us that information.”

Gee, I wonder why.

“All I can say is, it’s in Baylor’s hands now,” Collis Cobb said. “I’m hoping they want to do right by these kids.”

That’s been Baylor’s mantra all along, so I’m sure this will work out well.

Meanwhile, upon hearing the news, Roquan Smith nods his head sagely and mutters, “could have told you so…”

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Job One, June 1

Sounds like summer “voluntary” work outs are going to be considerably more regimented.

NCAA rules now allow for coaches to have limited summer meeting time with players before preseason practices.

“We’ve got some freshmen coming in, probably 14 to 20 guys counting walk-ons, that we’re going to say these guys have to get as much attention as possible,” coach Kirby Smart said. “Reps, reps, reps and reps. We got to see what we had in spring. We had 15 practices to see guys practice. And we told them, this is your opportunity to show us what you can do.”

Said Smart: “In the summer when these guys go out there, they get to be around the coaches, they get to be around the strength coaches and we want to see what they can do. We want to find out early on who can help our team. I think that’s where a lot of college coaches miss out because a freshman that comes on June 1 can pass up a sophomore or junior by midseason if you give him the opportunity. You’ve got to be able to recognize that talent and recognize that work ethic to figure out who’s going to  make your team better.”

“Reps, reps, reps and reps.”  Well, as long as they’re volunteering for it, who can complain?  It’s not like it’s a job, right?

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It’s for your own good.

Asshole Big Ten basketball coaches call player transfers “an epidemic”, want to cure the disease and insist that it’s not about them.

However it shakes out, Izzo and Beilein — as well as the other coaches in the Big Ten — emphasized they are pushing for what benefits the players the most.

“I think the problem is getting the balance right now, of understanding their needs and their rights, but also understanding what’s best for them,” Izzo said. “There’s not a coach in this building that isn’t always trying to look out for the kids’ best interest. … I could leave tomorrow and be fine. It’s not about me. But that’s just an example.

“We see how many kids leave early and don’t make it, but that’s forgotten about. Same with the transfers. Everybody wanted to transfer when they were freshmen. Hell, I wanted to transfer from a Division II school when I was a freshman but you learn how to work through things and I just think we’re missing that a little bit and we got to make sure that it is in their best interest.”

Noblesse oblige, bitchez.  Remember, kids, these guys are just here to help you.  Even if you don’t need that kind of help.

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