Jun 4, 2013; Eugene, OR, USA; General view of the NCAA logo at Hayward Field in advance of the 2013 NCAA Track

Northwestern to form union while NCAA push fictional ideals

The news has been out all day. Members of the Northwestern Wildcats football team are attempting to unionize. The move would be the first of its kind and would, obviously, go a huge way in giving student-athletes some representation.

Unfortunately, however, it seems like many people are not only misunderstanding why the players are attempting to do this, but they are coming up with the worst excuses ever as to why it would be so horrible.

First thing is first. Just like everything that is related to, in,  around or even in the general direction of the NCAA reform, people who are directly involved inside the governing body of college sports or support their ideals are quick to jump straight to the End of College Sports Armageddon. They are also really quick to jump right to the pay-to-play debate. Which is important and all, but not actually why Northwestern players want to set up a union. Their very legitimate reasons are fair, painfully obvious as well as deserved. Jason Kirk of SB Nation probably breaks it down better than anyone at the moment, but still, people are railing against the notion of allowing people with no voice to have one.

I am nowhere near as smart as some of the folks who are talking about this issue. However, as the day wore on and the union issue continued to play out on my Twitter timeline, I couldn’t help but notice the crazy retorts some people had as to why allowing Northwestern players to have this union is not only horrible for college sports, but unfair to the rest of the non-big money drawing student-athletes or students in general.

Well, here is how we are going to approach this. In the simplest manner, really. We aren’t going to break anything down into hard-hitting numbers or figure out the logistics of how to stop this supposed Armageddon. Instead, let’s just try to focus on the simple issues at hand. Which, right now apparently, is letting some people know that the NCAA and their ideals are a serious issue. An issue that has been taking advantage of young people, using them as unpaid laborers, so they can continuously profit off them as they try as hell to keep the unpaid laborers without a single ounce of power.

All you people do is complain about the NCAA, but don’t know how to fix it. So stop.

This is without a doubt my favorite kind of weird, no-argument argument. This group of people think we shouldn’t attempt at reform in the NCAA or abolishing it all together because there are no clear solutions. Here would be a similar situation in another walk of life if we were to just walk away from things because there were no obvious answers.


Yes, Doctor.

We aren’t really sure what is wrong with you. However, we can continue to do research and give you some different prescriptions for now to help prevent any more damage until we find a…

Stop. Stop right there. You don’t have a humorously simple, direct way to get me healthy? Just let me die.

End Scene.

What about the “other” student-athletes?

The NCAA was quoted as saying that they care about “all student-athletes. Not just the ones the unions care about.”. Um, no, that is a lie. But that is neither here or there.

You want to know what isn’t fair? Life. You want to know what the real life is like? It’s about having a unique trade or skill set that makes you valuable to potential employers. If you were in a sheet metal union and they decided they wanted to add more members to it via letting another set of tradesmen in, there would be some really heated discussions. The most important of which would be that group of tradesmen’s value. Would they let in carpenters? Maybe. Would they let in a person who picks up golf balls from a golf course? No. Why? Because one group is harder to replace than the other. Making that group more valuable.

“Money sports” athletes are more valuable because they play the money sports. Of course a union isn’t going to care about representing the chess team who has nearly zero value to it. In real life those same unions don’t represent other non-money laborers or tradesmen either. This is real life. Not some fictional realm where everyone gets to date Kate Hudson.

But they get free education!

They are also responsible for their own medical expenses (even some that come from playing for their school). Heck, most scholarships don’t cover the entire expense of going to school anyway.

We aren’t even getting into whatever the value is of a college education. That is some tricky, misleading stuff in some cases. It could also be that a large portion of high-profile schools are more worried about their players being eligible than it is about getting them properly ready to contribute in a non-sports way for the real world.

Not every college experience is the same nor are they valued the same — financially or through the actual educational experience. I have yet to hear of a single kid going to Program-X because that scholarship is valued at 50k a year while another is around 15k a year. So there’s that, too.

A lot of this seems to stem out of jealously as well. Well, you know what, if you wanted a scholarship maybe you should have excelled a little bit more in high school. You could have gotten exceptional grades, been superb in one area of athletics or developed another skill set that would make you ultra attractive to universities who would be forced into a position to give you a scholarship. If you are none of these things, but mad at athletes who are, that is solely on you. That applies to real life as well. When your boss finds someone with a certain talent that shoots them up the corporate food chain. What will you say then? That it isn’t fair because you didn’t have a chance to develop that talent? Of course you did. Plus, the ones that aren’t “natural” (everyone’s most ill-fated, but favorite athlete hate while ignoring hard work, talent) can still learn new skills. Really, if you are this person. STOP MAKING EXCUSES.

Derp. There’s also the whole thing about the education not being for free. They are required, mandated actually, to play that sport (in some cases at a certain high-level) to get that education. They are playing sports for that education. There are strings attached. So it’s not free.

It is the player’s fault they squandered the education opportunity!

This, again? Man, folks really dislike student-athletes for some reason. First, is it a player’s fault when he is steered toward no-show classes? What if a player wasn’t ready to learn at a college level to begin with, but a school found a loop-hole to get him in? Who squandered all of that?

I put this question in here because it just highlights how bitter some people seem. They first say “free education”, then after we argue the value of the education it’s “it is their fault they squandered it”, all of that while a few others are throwing dollar figures out while looking up certain universities’ tuition costs.

We get it. There is a number associated with going to school in a fiscal type of way. Not only does that not equal the money that a portion of the athletes bring in, but it is just a number that has no relative value. A Whopper Jr. in Boise could be two bucks, all while it can be only a dollar in your area. Does that make Boise’s better? Now apply that to higher-education, wouldn’t that create an unfair balance to the NCAA’s goal of creating an even playing field — and why is Yale, Harvard, Princeton and the like not the greatest sports schools in the free-world then?

I can’t. I don’t. I won’t. Anything with an “I” as part of argument.

All on you, Francis. Get better, get smarter, get away from people with talent because you are clearly jealous.

Random Retorts to Doug Gottlieb being dumb:


First, is that a fact? I assume there is at least a few of them that can get their parents to pay. But to his point; just because players are given an education does not mean they are allowed to be taken advantage of. My employers pay me money, but that doesn’t mean I am contracted to take exploitation or not have a voice in things that directly correspond to my health — which is primarily what the Northwestern players are asking for with this union.

Again, they actually are not looking to get paid. Although, if you want to go down the road of a scholarship being a payment, then they are considered laborers and laborers have the right to form unions.

I must have been lying to my daughters for years now. I had zero clue. Plus we live in a world where capitalism is king. So yeah, everyone looks for more — like he wanted more than whatever he had at ESPN. Must have been nice to have a choice, an agent who represented his voice and an ability to do pretty much whatever he wanted. But shame on him for wanting more. It is sickening.

So not exploiting or overworking unpaid people or “volunteers” is a bad thing? How many hours is the correct amount for people who don’t make tangible loot? Enlighten me.

The great, powerful and altruistic school is not responsible for steering players to easy courses, it is the players? Now I see. Blame the teenagers while we give a pass to older, middle-class white people.

Just like some families have bad parents so do colleges. Ask Mike Rice if he treated his “kids” like he was their father.

That one was retweeted by Doug. I couldn’t let this one go, though. The “99” percent of them who say it is the best gig ever are the ones who are around and happy to talk about it. Doug is a success story. You know who doesn’t have a platform to discuss their feelings on the NCAA and student-athlete rights? That one percent of yours. Which is probably just a wee-bit more than one percent.

Okay. I’m done. Goodnight, everyone — except you Doug.

Tags: NCAA Northwestern Wildcats Union

comments powered by Disqus