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Sports & Fitness // Hot Air
Steve Murray

NCAA Wrong On Employee-Athletes

Kain Colter (at podium) speaks about unionizing players at a Jan. 28 news conference in Chicago, while College Athletes Players Association president Ramogi Huma (left), United Steel Workers national political director Tim Waters (second from left), and United Steel Workers president Leo Gerard look on  |  AP Photo/Paul Beaty

Kain Colter (at podium) speaks about unionizing players at a Jan. 28 news conference in Chicago, while College Athletes Players Association president Ramogi Huma (left), United Steel Workers national political director Tim Waters (second from left), and United Steel Workers president Leo Gerard look on | AP Photo/Paul Beaty

A group of Northwestern football players want to unionize. The NCAA is against the idea. Based on each group’s history of credibility, the NCAA already has lost.

As with most things threatening the association’s dictatorial hold on policy and finances, the organization that claims to represent all athletes is gearing up for a long legal fight to maintain its grip on power (and money).

NCAA’s opinion is easy to understand. It doesn’t like to share, and it is already involved in an expensive lawsuit. To suddenly decide that a college scholarship is, in fact, payment for services rendered would negatively affect the NCAA’s ability to defend its position.

That lawsuit, widely known as the Ed O’Bannon case, claims the NCAA is in violation of anti-trust laws by licensing players’ likenesses and images to video game makers without compensation being paid to the players.

Kain Colter, the Wildcats’ quarterback, makes a convincing spokesman for the movement and says the issue has nothing to do with Northwestern, which he said has treated them well.

“The argument here is there needs to be better protection and more guarantees,” said Colter to Greg Couch of Fox Sports. “Our rights aren’t being taken care of. We’re not sitting here saying we have the perfect model for how things should be set up. But players deserve to have a voice.”

He’s right.

Colter and National College Players Association president Ramogi Huma, who filed a petition with the National La-bor Relations Board (NLRB) on behalf of the players, have said the issue isn’t about money. But it is.

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