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SBD/April 8, 2014/Colleges
Most Pundits Not In Favor Of College Athletes Unionizing, But Agree Changes Are Coming
Published April 8, 2014
COMING INTO FOCUS: In K.C., Sam Mellinger wrote faith in college sports' leadership "has never been lower," so it would be "a mistake for athletes at Northwestern or anywhere else to unionize." The first step "in any change should be adopting the so-called Olympic model" (K.C. STAR, 4/5). In Boston, Bob Ryan wrote college sports are "part of the fabric of American sports consciousness." Ryan: "We want it, but at what cost? Under what parameters?" The truth is this "is a national dialogue we've never really had." The real issue is that the NCAA "has had more than 50 years to address various important matters related to the idea of participation in college athletics and it has failed to do so." Unionizing "is absurd," because it brings with it "myriad issues that would make college sports impossible to function." But the "good thing" about Ohr's ruling is that it "has shone a light on the untenable process we now have." The NCAA "now must pay attention" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/6).
CHANGE IS INEVITABLE: A DESERET NEWS editorial stated it is "true the NCAA has done a poor job of confronting issues the athletes encounter, most notably having to do with injuries." Perhaps some settlement "could be negotiated providing health care or better equipment." But "allowing collective bargaining by football players at private universities presents a host of complicated issues, not the least of which are Title IX issues involving gender equality" (DESERET NEWS, 4/7). Texas Tech AD Kirby Hocutt said, "I believe you have to recognize that things are going to look different in the future than they do today. But with that being said, I adamantly disagree with anyone who believes that student-athletes are employees. Student-athletes are not employees" (Lubbock AVALANCHE-JOURNAL, 4/6). In Chicago, Rick Telander wrote the labor movement "isn't going away and will change college sports forever" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 4/7). Bulls F Taj Gibson: "I'm all for college players being paid because the universities are making millions and the kids sometimes don't even have enough money to eat. It's not right at all" (SUN-TIMES.com, 4/6).