Student-Athletes had a huge victory today when The National Labor Regulations Board ruled that the athletes at Northwestern University were employees, thus giving them the right to form a union. This comes in the middle of a fight between athletes and the National Collegiate Athletic Association on whether they should receive compensation for what they do, or not. Since its creation, the NCAA has always carefully labeled these players as “student-athletes” to avoid compensating them. Many believe they pretend to be serving the best interests of the players, but are only interested in deepening their own pockets. They surely have a lot to gain by not paying the athletes, because they make billions of dollars every year.
The NCAA has said they are disappointed by the decision of the NLRB, and released this statement.
“While not party to the proceeding, the NCAA is disappointed that the NLRB Region 13 determined the Northwestern football team may vote to be considered university employees. We strongly disagree with the notion that student-athletes are employees. We frequently hear from student-athletes, across all sports, that they participate to enhance their overall college experience and for the love of their sport, not to be paid. Over the last three years, our member colleges and universities have worked to re-evaluate the current rules. While improvements need to be made, we do not need to completely throw away a system that has helped literally millions of students over the past decade alone attend college. We want student athletes — 99 percent of whom will never make it to the professional leagues — focused on what matters most — finding success in the classroom, on the field and in life.”
This is the same veil of concern the NCAA has hid behind for years. They claim their students are not employees, yet each college makes millions of dollars off to them. They are employees, lets call them what they are. Employees they get away with ripping off, and pretending tuition covers the cost. They feed them dining hall food, give them a small place to live and call that compensation.
Let’s not pretend as if they are getting an great education either. Many of the college’s student employees get pushed through the system. They practice at least 20 hours a week, often more, but don’t tell anyone that because technically there is a 20 hour a week limit on practice. The through in games, which for basketball player happen all throughout the week severely damaging their study and class time. Then you have road games, which again, basketball teams have to play a lot. What about all the players on teams in the NCAA Tournaments right now? Are they getting an education when many are across the country from their class rooms? How can we say these employees are getting an education when they spend all of their time playing sports for the university? Some of them do get an education, and go on to do great things. It is great to give kids an opportunity to go to college who wouldn’t otherwise. It isn’t nearly enough compensation though, especially since the quality of that education is already in question.
For the NCAA to make as much money as they do, it is a disgrace how they refuse to push even a little to the side for their athletes. The people with the most to lose, the athletes, are the ones making nothing. The players are the ones risking injuries, and they are the reason the NCAA makes money.
They make over $10.6 Billion in TV rights for the NCAA Tourney alone. A full number of what the NCAA makes is hard to find. Mostly because the NCAA likes to hold the number close to their chest since many peoples stomachs would turn if they saw the real number. All we know is that they make a lot, certainly enough to compensate their employees.
This win with the NLRB is huge for the athletes. The NCAA is right to be scared about this ruling. Not only does it set a strong precedent in favor of calling the athletes employees, but it shows how drastically the sentiment has shifted in favor of the athletes.