Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Aug. 17, 2015 — A setback, but for how long?

This afternoon, the full National Labor Relations Board voted unanimously to overturn a ruling several months ago allowing players from the Northwestern University football team to unionize.

In the decision, the NLRB cited the possible formation of a two-tier system of players who would be paid, and with players who aren’t. Which is ironic, because in just about every NCAA Division I sport, there is a small group of haves and a group of have-nots. In terms of football, you have the five Football Bowl Subdivision conferences, plus Notre Dame and a group of “everybody else,” the teams such as Fresno State and Bowling Green and Southern Mississippi who have little no chance of winning a national championship under the current system.

The original March 26, 2014 decision by the NLRB Peter Ohr had forced the hand of the NCAA, and the governing body of college sports had already put in motion plans to allow schools in five of its power conferences to give stipends to student-athletes.

If you think the NCAA’s plans are going to evaporate because of the NLRB vote, think again. We haven’t heard the end of this.

After all, when it comes to jurisprudence and certain kinds of long-term social and political movements, nothing comes easy. It took a century to get from the Dred Scott Supreme Court decision to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

It’s going to have to take the right plaintiff, the right setting, and the right forum in order to reform collegiate sports as we know them.

Why do I have a feeling it’s not going to be an participant from a so-called revenue sport in order to get even a minimal bump up in compensation for college student-athletes? Guaranteed scholarships and long-term care insurance? And a culture where student-athletes don’t feel like they are the personal property of the coach?

Stay tuned. There are a lot of people with a lot of interest in what happens next.


  Sept. 3, 2018 — Laboring on | wrote @

[…] and management in many industries here in the U.S., I side with the workers. This especially goes in the world of college sport, where free labor is being used to entertain corporate clients and justify the building of not only […]

  Oct. 2, 2019 — A labor conundrum | wrote @

[…] Remember this? […]

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