The decision by the National Labor Relations Board to classify football players at Northwestern University as employees affects upcoming junior and senior High School students in their recruitment process. It is setting up to be a polarizing issue for students who merely want to play collegiate sports against those who are more attuned to the issues regarding players' rights. In a CBSSports article published yesterday, Northwestern backup quarterback Trevor Siemian stated he would vote No on an upcoming vote by players to become a union. The reason being he states is that the campaign for the union has cast the coaches and university in a negative light and student-athletes have been treated very well. Which brings to light whether athletes could reach a consensus among one another about collective bargaining for their rights. No doubt about it, High School athletes around the nation are following these events and beginning to form their own opinions through discussions with other athletes and their parents in car rides and at the dinner table.
Here is a synopsis of talking points:
- Should amateur athletes get paid to play collegiate sports? This would be an over-simplification because athletes aren't looking to get paid as professionals but have additional monies outside of their scholarships and financial aid that cover books, room and classes. The NCAA's position is that athletes can earn enough money when they graduate so they must concentrate on their studies when not in training but small universities stopped a $2,000 additional stipend being afforded to students for fear it would kill their athletic department budgets.
- Can a student-athlete pursue a major of their choice that can translate to a decent paying job upon graduation? Not only at Northwestern, but in many universities, athletes cannot study academic-intensive majors that will interfere with their athletic responsibilities. Coaches have a direct influence on the academic choices of what individual players choose to study under the risk of not being able to properly compete for a starting position.
- If an athlete joined a player's union, would that prevent him from playing? A player's union wouldn't obligate member athletes to miss practices or competitions simply for petty disagreements on issues. Athletes would still meet the obligations to their teams but now have flexibility through collective bargaining to discuss important issues that create hardships in their lives and find solutions instead of accepting them as part of being a college athlete. Kain Colter, the face of the student-athlete advocating a player's union has stated issues such as increased medical coverage for athletes would benefit from collective bargaining.