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College Unionization Efforts Generate Spirited Conversation On ESPN's "GameDay"
Published February 3, 2014
MOMENT OF CHANGE? In N.Y., Joe Nocera wrote the effort to unionize could "wind up triggering a momentous change in the way big-time college athletics operates." National College Players Association President Ramogi Huma, who is aiding the NU players in their pursuit, said, "Players need to know that they will be taken care of if they are injured." He added, "It is terrifying to think of the damage concussions can do, and see the NCAA avoiding responsibility, while the NFLPA has been making progress. ... What we want is a seat at the table." Nocera wrote the question the NLRB "will have to grapple with is whether college athletes meet the criteria required to be labeled as employees" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/1). In Oklahoma, John Hoover noted Tulsa AD Derrick Gragg "strongly supports student-athlete well-being, but classifying students as employees either isn't legally possible, or will transform college sports into a lesser version of pro sports." Gragg indicated that the NCPA's efforts "may be inherently flawed." Gragg: "It's very problematic in regards to gender equality and Title IX. Just on the face, when I saw that piece that only football and men's basketball players would even be allowed to join the organization, just from a legal standpoint and federal law, that's very problematic" (TULSA WORLD, 2/1).
HIGHER LEARNING: In Denver, Terry Frei writes college athletes "already are handsomely paid for being part of the revenue machine." The compensation "is called 'a scholarship.'" Frei: "Even if you buy into the argument that athletes should get additional stipends of some sort ... You have to tell me how you'd do it fairly, in a realistic system that works and would pass legal muster." Should colleges "pay only fooball and men's basketball players, because those are 'revenue' sports?" Brace for lawsuits "from advocates of women's sports and 'nonrevenue' men's sports," and that is "if it passes federal scrutiny to get that far" (DENVER POST, 2/3).