Brendan Gibbons has been separated from the University of Michigan. Doesn't look great for the University. Doesn't look great at all. I'm sure a spirited, educated, and fair discussion will be held in this comment thread about the issue.
Michigan State beat Iowa in an ugly, gritty game. The Spartans are, in my opinion, the best defensive team in the B1G. Tom Izzo can coach the defensive side of the ball and it shows. Some notes:
- RDM had a spinning chance to win the game...and didn't make it. Such is life.
- On the late game tip-in by Costello, Appling carried the ball blatantly before missing the floater. Such is life.
- Russell Byrd for three!
LARRY BYRD!— Off Tackle Empire (@offtackleempire) January 29, 2014
Yesterday's comment thread on Northwestern players pushing for unionization was illuminating. Some choice quotes:
ON LACK OF UTOPIA
if we lived in a perfect world. But we don’t, and so this is build to fail. Think about it, Football gets a union, and they say they want a place at the table. Human nature tells us, we always want more. So, they get the union and a place at the table. Then you think, well if we got that why not get paid more. And then is this, and then is that. But there is a really, really, really big problem the athletes are not seeing. The greater majority of schools don’t make money from sports, in fact they lose money. Now you are going to tell schools they have to lose more money? Well, why don’t we just drop sports all together. Schools will survive and may even do better. Ivy Leagues don’t give out scholarships, and last I checked, they are doing very, very well financially. I get it, it doesn’t seem right, and is a knee jerk reaction to want to see the kids get some money from all the work they put it. But is not a perfect world, is the system we have. While is not perfect, is still pretty damn good. This thing will just be a footnote in history.
Is there a hobo union? Are dues high? 1 reply
three fucking cans of red beans and two sardine cans every year. Plus, now there’s talk of adding chicken broth (don’t quote me on this, but I think is 10 oz.) so we can make proper stew. Oh, and the silly rules. You can’t ride this guy’s train, and you been to Ashville, NC four times in so many years. Nothing but bureaucracy, man.
ON HUGE SCHOLARSHIPS ALREADY RECEIVED
I wish them good luck ...… However, I find it ironic that the athletes with some of the best scholarships in the world [covering the cost of room, board, etc. at Northwestern being easily north of $250K for 4-5 years] are the ones advancing this issue. I hope what it does is forever blow up the scholarship system of collegiate athletics and they can not only risk their lives in the future [if they want to play], but they can do so while paying back student loans for 10-20 years after they graduate.
ON POSSIBLE SELF IMMOLATION
In an effort to reform college football, the crusaders are going to completely demolish it.
I’ll say that I’ve always found it wrong that 18 year olds can’t enter the NBA draft or the NFL draft as soon as they come of age. I understand why the NBA and the NFL have the rules they do but I generally feel that amateur sports would be better off without pros-in-waiting being involved.
That being said even the current system has options. Kids don’t have to go to college. They can play internationally. They can play in America even. Just not in the premier pro leagues (NBA & NFL). They choose to go to college for the exposure. With that being the case they should accept the spectacular deal they’re offered (free room, board, education, tutors, trainers, equipment, coaching) without complaint.
1) I don’t think it’s anything here is intended to screw over walk-ons or the women’s teams, as some have suggested above. The history of the labor movement and every socio-legal movement is full of test cases designed to maximize the odds of winning and set a legal precedent.
2) Thus far, this isn’t about money. The demands that they’re making are about health and safety and academic opportunity, which is pretty limited. That the NCAA chooses to call that "wanting to professionalize" is an ambitious PR strategy.
3) Re: the "dictatorship" quote— like you’ve all never exaggerated to make a point. We’ve got no problem when athletes use way over the top rhetoric about their performances, but we jump all over them for one not-totally-accurate attention-grabbing line on a serious topic that impacts their lives and futures? The point is that athletes have very limited options to present their grievances, and the NCAA has very little incentive to listen.
4) Even if this organizing strategy fails, the players are making a very public statement about the NCAA’s lack of focus on the issues that matter to players. I think that’s admirable, and in my perfect world, that would be enough to prompt the NCAA to voluntarily embrace some compromise proposals without the need for litigation.
5) I don’t know if this is the right route for them to go, as I am not a lawyer. But I certainly prefer to see them try this than accept the status quo of a system that I don’t think has the interests of student-athletes at its heart. I do worry, because "union" tends to be a political trigger word that sends discussions off in an ugly and often partisan direction, when this definitely shouldn’t be a partisan issue. But I have no problem with players seeking to establish a legal precedent for their right to collectively organize and negotiate.
I’m incredibly proud of these guys today, and proud to wear purple. I’m proud of Northwestern’s statement in response, which is largely supportive. And I continue to be impressed by Kain Colter, who’s one of my all-time favorite players.
ON BEING ALL ABOUT MONEY
Because if it’s not, and they receive no wages, they won’t be considered employees. If they’re not employees, they can’t collectively bargain. The Steelworker’s union isn’t getting involved out of the kindness of their heart, they’re looking at this is a potential future revenue stream WRT union dues.
And once college athletes can unionize and collect wages, not a lot of athletic programs will be able to afford a scholarship based athletic department if union membership is part of the coast, most scholarship programs will go away, and it becomes a true ‘love of the game’. There’s maybe four programs in the Big Ten that could do it, and Northwestern ain’t one of them.
So take maybe the top 30-40 revenue producing college football programs, turn it into the NFL AAA league, and everyone else goes Div III, worst case scenario.
Maybe someday, you’ll be able to thank Cain Colter for making Northwestern football more irrelevant than it was during the 1970’s.
ON LAWYER TALK
It is a fascinating scenario. Regardless of the outcome, it won’t end with the FLRB. It will go to the circuit.
I don’t think they meet the definition of an employee but the FLRA (think Illinois) has erred before. If the athletes’ tuition is being paid, etc. there is an argument of fee for service. This is a very liberal board—-they could surprise us.
All that said, the NCAA has brought this on themselves. The amount of money coming through the coffers because of these athletes and then not allowing them some type of reasonable stipend has likely exacerbated the issue and allowed the union to get 30% (minimum required) to sign union cards in this university. If the FLRA rules them employees, watch out NCAA. I gotta say, the labor aspect of sports is fascinating.
ON ACTUAL REQUESTS BY COLTER AND FRIENDS
- Healthcare for themselves for injuries that occurred while playing after they graduate (i.e. ongoing health monitoring)
- Clear concussion prevention guidelines with non-partial concussion experts making "play or not" calls
- Due process rights and uniform treatment in terms of off-field allegations (no kicking players off based on unproven allegations, all schools treat transgressions same, appeal process)
- Trust funds set up to assist players after their eligibility is done to complete their undergraduate and/or graduate education
- A reduction in full-contact/full-pad practices akin to current NFL rules
- A voice in the governance of the sport on issues like transfer eligibility rules, the length of the season, playoff structure, etc.