Category Archives: Look For The Union Label

Labor law, college football players and COVID

If you have a few minutes, spend them listening to this clip about the labor law environment college athletes find themselves operating within.

(h/t DawgStats)

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Filed under Georgia Football, Look For The Union Label

#TheyStillUnited

Judging from the statement #WeAreUnited released after Larry Scott announced he nuked the 2020 Pac-12 football season, he’s in for a stressful winter.

Screenshot_2020-08-12 Laine Higgins ( lainehiggins17) Twitter

The financial demands have been jettisoned.  Left are health concerns, frustration over having those concerns dismissed and a number of shots at the lack of leadership coming from Scott and his office.  There’s also the promise/threat that they expect a voice in the shaping of whatever comes for 2021.

Like it or not, this is going to be a topic of interest between now and the start of next year, especially if the plug gets pulled on the sport nationally.  There will be a vacuum and you know what they say about vacuums.

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Filed under Look For The Union Label, Pac-12 Football

A meaningful seat at the table

I’ve seen questions from some of you in the comments about the likelihood of a college players’ union.  As this article ($$) indicates, there are a lot of legal hurdles that would have to be overcome in order for that to become a reality.

A players’ association might be a different matter, though.  More on that in a sec.

The irony is that it’s becoming more and more clear that it’s in college athletics’ interest to have a negotiating partner.  As Andy Staples ($$) put it,

There is no mechanism to negotiate with the players who — whether schools want to admit it or not — make up most of the workforce in this multibillion-dollar endeavor.

Why could pro leagues — those with bubbles and those without — restart? Because they negotiated the terms of those restarts with their respective players’ associations. The players wouldn’t have come back without a mutually-agreed-upon plan.

The problem is, the idea of a players’ union is scarier to the NCAA and schools than a one-year business loss due to a sport shutdown is.  Would a players’ association, such as what #WeWantToPlay is advocating, be less threatening?  Maybe.

… it is possible for players to form a non-profit organization designed to look out for their interests. And though the people in charge of the schools, conferences and the NCAA wouldn’t be legally required to bargain with that group, it probably would be in their best interests to allow the players a greater voice in the governance of the sport. All the leagues have student-athlete advisory committees, but those athletes get little to no say in any important decisions.

It would be voluntary, so the schools would have some say over how things could be shaped.  But in the end, it still comes down to relinquishing a degree of control to college athletes, either just in the revenue producing sports, or overall.  I don’t sense that things are presently dire enough for the schools to make that leap, but ask me again in six months.  The way things are going, a lot could happen between now and then.

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Filed under College Football, Look For The Union Label

Danny Kanell, a play in three acts

Shot.

Screenshot_2020-08-10 Home Twitter

Chaser.

Screenshot_2020-08-10 Home Twitter(1)

You’re drunk.  Go home.

Screenshot_2020-08-10 Home Twitter(2)

(h/t)

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Filed under Look For The Union Label

And then you had to spoil it all by saying something stupid like…

I love you “ultimately create a college football players association”.

Screenshot_2020-08-10 Trevor Lawrence on Twitter #WeWantToPlay https t co jvQhE7noGB Twitter

I’m sure a few conference commissioners and school administrators got stiffies when they first heard about prominent players like Lawrence and Fields expressing a strong desire to play ball in 2020.

The fine print is a bitch, though.

“The beautiful thing is now we’re all on the same page,” said Stanford defensive lineman Dylan Boles, one of the players who organized Sunday’s message. “We made history tonight.”

Boles said he received a direct message on Twitter at 5:30 p.m. PT Sunday from Clemson running back Darien Rencher. The two had never talked before, but Rencher wanted to discuss the Pac-12 players’ unity movement with which Boles was involved. Boles is one of the leaders of a group of roughly 400 players in the Pac-12 who published a list of demands early last week and said they planned to sit out of practice and potentially games if conference officials were unwilling to meet with them and address their concerns. Players from the Big Ten and other conferences made similar demands thereafter, and others showed their support with the hashtag #WeAreUnited on social media throughout the week.

Rencher was one of dozens of college football players — a list that included his Heisman Trophy-candidate teammate, quarterback Trevor Lawrence — who shared the hashtag #WeWantToPlay this weekend as college football administrators met to debate the merits of a 2020 season. Rencher and others felt that fans and commenters were unfairly pitting the #WeWantToPlay contingent against the #WeAreUnited group, Boles said. Rencher, Boles and Lawrence talked briefly on a FaceTime call before deciding to loop in more players from around the country.

“We got down to talking and agreed that both of our goals are aligned with each other,” Boles said. “We all want to play this year. We just want to make sure players have a say in this thing.”

Larry Scott strenuously objects.  And I bet that will be a subject for the next commissioners’ meeting, too.

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Filed under College Football, Look For The Union Label

“I don’t think he thought of us as people who were making a legitimate case.”

You will be totally surprised to learn that Larry Scott blew off the #WeAreUnited players in their meeting this week.

When a group of Pac-12 Conference players who are threatening to opt out of the football season met with Commissioner Larry Scott on Thursday night, they had two primary objectives: pushing for more-frequent coronavirus testing and protecting the eligibility and status of players who choose not to play for health reasons.

On both fronts, the players said, they made little progress.

They said Scott told them the conference was powerless to mandate uniform testing standards. They also described the commissioner as often condescending, unprepared and unwilling to meet with them again — telling them that subsequent discussions would be with the conference’s medical advisory board.

The players said Scott criticized their statement on The Players’ Tribune as a “misguided P.R. stunt.”

(Larry only respects guided PR stunts.  But I digress.)

You should be equally surprised by this.

Valentino Daltoso, a senior offensive lineman at California, added: “It was not very productive. We did not come away with many answers. He made it very clear that he does not want to meet again.”

Seriously, what would be the point?

There was one revealing moment to emerge from the meeting:

The players also said they were rebuffed when Jevon Holland, a junior defensive back at the University of Oregon, asked near the end of the nearly 90-minute meeting if they could have lawyers present. When Scott equivocated, he was pressed by Holland for a yes or no answer. According to the players, Scott said lawyers could talk to lawyers but “this isn’t a negotiation, it’s a discussion.” Anderson — who formerly worked as an N.F.L. executive — informed the players that he was a labor lawyer and that they were not employees, a position the N.C.A.A. has long fought to assert.

And therein lies the rub, as this quote illustrates.

Gee, I’m beginning to suspect that the health and safety of college athletes isn’t the top priority of these people.

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Filed under College Football, Look For The Union Label, Pac-12 Football

They blame Bobo.

I never imagined when I posted this yesterday…

Let’s hear it for Colorado State, which, in a matter of a few short months with a brand new coach, has managed the difficult Daily Double of substandard safety protocols and racism/verbal abuse accusations that need to be investigated by the administration that hired him.

I mean, there are programs that take years to get to that point.  Salut!

… that it would turn out Colorado State would be one of those programs.

These were some of the incidents most often corroborated in separate interviews:

Bobo and Jancek calling Black football players “boy,’’ a derogatory term aimed at Black people. One assistant coach under Bobo said Jancek quit using the term after being told it was insensitive.

• • •

In a meeting with his assistant coaches, it was confirmed that Bobo was wanting a Black woman to meet a Black recruit. He looked at former assistant coach Joe Cox, who is white and is married to a Black woman, and asked if his wife could meet the recruit. Cox said his wife was not available. He looked around the room and said to former assistant coach Bryan Applewhite, who is Black and married to a white woman, that the next time he hires a Black assistant coach he will make sure he has a Black wife…

In one of the more public outbursts among CSU football staff, Jancek, who is white, and Tre Thomas, a Black starting linebacker, had to be separated on the sidelines in plain sight of many fans at a 2018 game against Wyoming. After that incident, Bobo moved Jancek away from the sidelines and up to the coaches box above the stands, claiming he did so to give Jancek a better look at the field rather than for separation from his defensive players.

“In what other department at CSU would you pay a person $325,000 (Jancek’s annual salary) who you couldn’t trust to be around students, or require your deputy athletic director (Steve Cottingham) to babysit your head basketball coach (Larry Eustachy) because you were afraid of their abusive behavior and you were afraid to fire them?’’ Stewart said.

I will leave it you y’all to beg the obvious questions here.

*************************************************************************

UPDATE:

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Filed under General Idiocy, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, Look For The Union Label

Moar #United

This time, from the AAC.

The hazard pay ask is a nice touch, don’t you think?

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Filed under It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, Look For The Union Label, The Body Is A Temple

Today, in #WeAreUnited

Welp, the players and Pac-12 leadership met and it went about as well as you might expect.

The players, who have threatened to boycott the season unless a series of demands are met, raised the issue of sharing 50 percent of the football revenue — the most controversial of their demands.

Representatives of the conference responded that such an arrangement was “not something the schools were supportive of” because it would create a “path to the student athletes becoming employees.”

Funny way of saying “we don’t wanna”.

No follow-up meeting was scheduled.

Larry’s still working the stall, but he wants the kids to know his heart is in the right place.

Meanwhile, in the mid-majors

Football players from the Mountain West Conference on Thursday became the latest group to unite and publicize a list of conditions to ensure their health and safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mountain West players followed similar groups from the Pac-12 and Big Ten in outlining their demands. They began posting a graphic Thursday night on Twitter with the hashtag #MWUnited.

The players praised their coaches for adjusting to the pandemic, but said they “do not feel comfortable playing teams from other states.”

“It is difficult to believe that hundreds of 17 to 22-year-old college students are capable of social-distancing effectively enough to travel state-to-state for 10 weeks,” the players’ statement reads.

A player told ESPN that #MWUnited includes more than 300 Mountain West players and came together through a group message in only one day.

Gosh, for some reason, lots of players are skeptical of that whole your-health-is-our-number-one-concern shtick.  I wonder why.

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Filed under It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, Look For The Union Label, Pac-12 Football, The Body Is A Temple

“… with the health and safety of our student-athletes being our No. 1 priority.”

When #WeAreUnited says it’s about the money, Larry Scott says it isn’t.

Scott included six bulleted paragraphs in the email related to the conference’s coronavirus protocols as background to prepare for the call; however, like his initial response Monday, he did not address the group’s proposal for a drastic reduction to his own salary and the distribution of 50% of each sport’s total conference revenue evenly among athletes in their respective sports.

In a call Wednesday with the Pac-12’s Student-Athlete Leadership Team, which is part of the Pac-12’s governance structure and comprised of athletes from every school across several sports, Scott implied the #WeAreUnited group’s economic demands were unrealistic and a non-starter, according to multiple sources familiar with the call.

The idea that Scott would accede to a player demand to reduce his salary and split conference revenues was nothing more than a pipe dream.  If, however, that was offered as a negotiating tactic to get traction for issues like player health, that shows more smarts and realism.

There’s an indication that’s what those players may really be after.

Pick the battles you can win, kids.  And remember whom you’re dealing with.

12 Comments

Filed under Look For The Union Label, Pac-12 Football