When the Chicago district of the National Labor Relations Board ruled that football players from Northwestern can unionize, the reverberations rippled across the college football landscape. To say the decision is monumental might be an understatement. If the union is allowed to go forward and the decision that college football players are employees of their universities stands, it would change NCAA sports as we know them.
From a USC perspective, Athletic Director Pat Haden addressed concerns regarding Northwestern’s unionization in his March State of Troy address:
“Regarding unionization specifically, I have looked at the demands of the Northwestern players, and quite honestly, we provide most of those already at USC. We do not yank scholarships from players, and we happily pay for former student-athletes to come back and complete their degrees. In terms of health benefits and stipends, we provide the maximum allowed under NCAA rules, but we would love the opportunity to do more, especially when it comes to feeding our student-athletes. It is unjust that we cannot feed them when they are hungry. The Northwestern case will work its way through the court system over the next few years, and we will closely monitor it, and maintain a dialogue with our student-athletes about how we can improve.”
While not throwing his support behind the unionization effort, Haden clearly acknowledged discontent with the current state of NCAA affairs when it comes to providing for student-athletes.
Meanwhile, junior wide out Nelson Agholor expressed his own discontent with the NCAA when it comes to pay-for-play issues.
In the official statement from Donald Remy, chief legal officer for the NCAA, they argued that players are against payment.
“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.”
To which Agholor responded:
How many student athletes have come out and said no we shouldn’t get paid to play?
— Nelson Agholor (@NelsonAgh15) March 26, 2014