Northwestern University: Unionizing a Blessing and Curse

Tuesday April 1, 2014

northwestern university, football
Will Northwestern University players be allowed to unionize? Photo Credit: U.S. Army, Flickr.com

A huge announcement was revealed to the world last week. It involved Northwestern University and a judge ruling, and if upheld, it could change the NCAA forever.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the National Labor Relations Board ruled on March 26 Northwestern football players are employees of the school and can have the option to unionize. In other words, the students could have the power to dictate their fate, that’s if the ruling holds in the NCAA.

ESPN revealed the leaders attempting to make this scenario happen plan to take their case with Congress to make this official. It’s unclear whether they’ll succeed, but the message is clear.

The question must be asked. Should college athletes get paid for their work on the field, as well as off the field? Well, there’s a double-edged sword in this issue.

The negatives always come first. They’re kids first, athletes second. Who would trust college kids not to spend that money in a quick period of time?

Other situations come to mind when discussing this subject. Last summer, the NCAA dealt with Johnny Manziel’s autograph scandal. Ohio St., USC and countless others have been marred with football players earning money outside of the NCAA.

Unfortunately, college football isn’t alone. In college basketball, the University of Michigan had their own scandal with the Fab Five and Ed Martin.

Despite the negatives, there are positives that can be taken from this. What if these kids can actually do some good for themselves?

Injuries happen for athletes. What if they need help to fix a broken leg, or even test for concussions? What if they need money to further their education? Maybe they need assistance to help their families with money issues. Perhaps a work-study program could be in effect for these college athletes.

We do not know what these college players deal with. The first thing we must remember is that they’re kids. They are only human, just like us.

Let’s not forget the ramifications for student athletes everywhere. If Northwestern succeeds in unionizing, then other football teams will follow suit. College baseball teams, college basketball teams and other college teams will attempt to unionize. Sooner or later, every college athlete will have representation, one way or the other.

Perhaps that isn’t a bad thing. We don’t know their living situations, their motivations for going to school. Not everyone is egotistical.

Regardless of how you feel, college athletes unionizing is worth exploring. However, if not handled carefully, our biggest fears for the college atmosphere will come true.

Well, that’s it for today. Remember to check out the Facebook page for the Update. Don’t forget to like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter and keep on reading. Until then, see you next time sports fans.

Yours Truly,

Sebastian Maldonado

Copyright @ 2007

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