Players With Union Cards - The Missourian: Opinion

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Players With Union Cards

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Posted: Friday, March 28, 2014 7:00 pm

How would you like to be a coach who has unionized players and you no longer can tell them how long to practice, what drills can be conducted, perhaps even be forced to use only players who have a card, limit the number of games played and only schools with unionized players can be scheduled? Sounds far-fetched? It could happen, but not soon.

The National Labor Relations Board ruled that scholarship players can form a union because they are employees of the school. The ruling will be appealed by the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association). Also, college athletic conferences, such as the Big Ten, will weigh in on the matter, perhaps with litigation. So the issue is far from final.

The union issue was raised at Northwestern University in Illinois. Northwestern is a private school. The NLRB has jurisdiction over private schools but not over public institutions, such as the University of Missouri. If the ruling stands, long term it could impact MU and other public universities.

We believe with unionized players it will harm the very people it is supposed to help. If a player is considered an employee, he or she could be terminated at any time if not performing up to recognized standards. Part of their scholarship money would go for union dues. If there is added cost to scholarships, the fans will be asked to cough up more, either in donations and/or higher ticket prices.

The leaders in the movement to unionize college players cite the need for better medical care, better treatment for head injuries and to improve graduation rates. The players know they can be injured and from what we know, the colleges do a good job of providing care for the injured. How being a union member is going to improve graduation rates is puzzling. With money the athletic department raises, tutors are provided for players who need help with their classes.

The ramifications of this issue, plus possible consequence in a number of areas, will be far-flung.

College sports today are big business. The leaders in this movement to unionize players see an opportunity for personal gain in running a union. If the movement becomes widespread, the world of college sports will change. It will not be for the better.

/opinion