Category Archives: Look For The Union Label

Danny Kanell, a play in three acts


Screenshot_2020-08-10 Home Twitter


Screenshot_2020-08-10 Home Twitter(1)

You’re drunk.  Go home.

Screenshot_2020-08-10 Home Twitter(2)




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.


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.


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.




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?


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.


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.


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

Another day, another hash tag

This time, it’s the Big Ten’s turn.

Screenshot_2020-08-05 The Players' Tribune on Twitter A group of more than 1,000 Big Ten football players is calling on the[...]

No boycott threat, though.  I’m sure that will generate plenty of concerned sympathy in the usual quarters.


Filed under Big Ten Football, Look For The Union Label

Fellas, I’ll get right back to you.

This, my friends, is why they pay Larry Scott the big bucks.

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott is open to holding dialogue with a group of league football players who are threatening to boycott the 2020 football season, according to a letter that Scott sent the group Monday. Sports Illustrated obtained a copy of the two-page letter, which Scott wrote in response to the #WeAreUnited campaign’s letter Sunday.

Pac-12 officials are reviewing #WeAreUnited’s list of demands and documents, Scott says in the 1,400-word response, sent at 7 p.m. ET Monday. “We are eager to hear more about your concerns and very happy to discuss,” Scott writes. “I will come back to you in the coming days following discussion with our members and student-athlete leaders to schedule a call for this week to discuss the matters that you have raised.”

He is open.  Eager, even.  But not quite yet ready to meet.  Surprisingly, the players aren’t grabbing Larry’s peace offering.

Hours after receiving a response from Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott that indicated he was eager to hear more about their concerns and would find a convenient time to speak later this week, leaders from the Pac-12’s #WeAreUnited campaign responded late Monday night asking for more immediate action.

“While we appreciate the response, we are looking to move on a faster timeline than you have proposed,” an email approved by the group’s leadership, and obtained by ESPN, said. “We are two weeks from fall camp and would like to work to come to a resolution so that we can play this season. Every day that we don’t have discussions puts players at additional risk of COVID.”

… In a letter to Scott and the Pac-12 athletic directors dated Aug. 2, and obtained by ESPN, the group asked for daily video meetings with Scott, the athletic directors and the player representatives to begin Monday at 8 p.m. PT, but that meeting was not granted.

Where’s the fire, kids?  After all, the health of athletes is the league’s “No. 1 priority,” Scott wrote.  That ought to keep you safe while the bucks roll in.

I’m really looking forward to watching how long Scott can stall this.


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

Whither #WeAreUnited?

Andy Staples ($$) makes a good point that the Pac-12 players threatening a strike have done a poor job timing it.

What’s interesting is that now isn’t the ideal time to make these demands. This time last year was. College administrators understand there may be no way to safely play a season this year — even if the players completely agreed on everything — so they’re already making contingency plans for the possibility of a year without football. Those plans are unpleasant and involve a lot of furloughs and layoffs, so the administrators are still motivated to play this season. So they should be willing to listen to the players. But they probably aren’t as willing as they would be if this came out of the blue during a year when the money train was otherwise rolling merrily along.

I would say in response, though, some of that depends on which of their demands they’re willing to go to the wall for in the short run.  Their NIL stance aside, asking for coaches and administrators to take steep pay cuts and for the conference to share half its revenues with players are both non-starters and I have to believe the players know that.

Some of the other stuff, though, resonates.  Here’s what one of the instigators said about what motivated him ($$):

Cal offensive lineman Jake Curhan already had concerns about playing college football during the COVID-19 pandemic. Then he read a June 30 CBS Sports article in which a University of Illinois computer science professor predicted that 30-50 percent of the nation’s FBS players would get infected with COVID-19 this season — and that three to seven players would die.

“That’s not something that made me concerned for myself,” Curhan told The Athletic on Sunday. “I just know how frustrated I would have been had I seen any conference or team statement about it offering condolences, where they may very well have had access to these same studies and more. That was the moment when I said, OK, I needed to talk to some of my teammates.”

COVID is college football’s fault line, as Staples says here:

… Power 5 college football is the only major American sport trying to get back to playing that has no real mechanism for negotiating with players. Major League Baseball, the NBA and the NFL couldn’t create plans to restart during the pandemic without each respective players union’s approval. The college players understandably would like a say in how their sport comes back. Second, the pandemic has laid bare exactly how much money rides on a football season in the Power 5 conferences. The players aren’t stupid. They know their schools need them more than they need their schools at the moment.

How this plays out is anybody’s guess.  The players may have leverage, but they have no experience using it.  They may push for the wrong things.  Many of their peers are going to have a difference of opinion about the goals and methods to achieve them.

The players aren’t paid, most players aren’t pro prospects, and the top ones will get drafted anyway. The only people with a long-term financial stake in the season being played by are marginal pro prospects, and even they have to trade off the extra year of scouting/development with the risk of injury compounded by exposure to a deadly virus.

As Curhan put it,

“Personally, to me, (sitting out) is a no-brainer,” said Curhan. “This is a lot bigger than me. I’m lucky to be where I’m from. If football got taken away from me, I’d be able to land on my feet. The reason I feel it’s necessary is for my teammates and future generations that might not be OK if they had scholarships taken away, or their hopes of playing professionally got taken away.”

And so, for every Trevor Lawrence, there’s a Lamonte McDougle.  For every Jake Curhan, there’s a Jake Bentley.

Where does it go from here?  Hard to say.  Do they overplay their hand or take their winnings off the table when they have the chance?  They’ve clearly started a national conversation, and as Staples notes, there’s plenty they’re asking for that doesn’t amount to a big reach.

If they’re sensible and in sufficient numbers, college athletic administrators are going to be forced to deal with them.  Some of you would no doubt find it emotionally satisfying to let them walk, but there’s no way the schools can get a season underway in a matter of a few weeks with a wide scale infusion of walk on players.

Overreach — which some would also find emotionally satisfying — and it’s likely the whole thing fizzles before it ever gets started.  Is #WeAreUnited savvy enough to pick the fights it can win?  We’ll soon see.


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