Situation at Northwestern might be beginning of the end

March 27, 2014 | Drew Forrester

If Northwestern football players go ahead now and unionize — as expected following yesterday’s labor ruling in Chicago — you’re looking at the first step in the erosion of college sports as we’ve known them.

The goof who made the decision yesterday said, essentially, “All the time and effort these players put in, coupled with the fact their athletic performance is directly tied in to their scholarship, makes them employees.”

What about the $60,000 education the football players are receiving?

How is that accounted for and why is that not factored in when discussing some sort of compensation table?

Oh, I know why.

Because the actual concept of going to college to get an education doesn’t connect with a lot of them.

I’ve been saying this for years ever since these guys (and girls, possibly) started bellyaching about working too hard on the field and not getting paid for it:  There’s an extremely simple solution to this whole thing — make all of the athletes pay for their school the way the rest of the great unwashed do and then pay them some sort of stipend for playing a sport and tie that stipend (and any annual increase) into their academic accomplishments.

I’m not sure what’s so difficult about that scenario.

That solution would be suitable for every sport.  Football, basketball, lacrosse, swimming, golf, tennis…whatever.

If you want to come up with a formula that somehow factors in revenue and expense for the sport in computing the stipend for the athlete, that’s fine, too.  In other words, it might work out that a football player’s stipend is $20,000 a year and a swimmer’s stipend is only $8,000.

I’ll warn you, as I’ve done for the last decade, that the minute you start paying these athletes ANYTHING at all, the best player on the team is going to want more than the worst player on the team.  If you think Johnny Manziel would take $20,000 from Texas A&M while the back-up safety gets $20,000 as well, you’re nuts.

But, that’s the pandora’s box the labor clown in Chicago opened up yesterday when he ruled the Northwestern football team has the right to unionize.

Calling college football players “employees” is silly.  They truly are student-athletes.

College athletes who go to school and play a sport enter into an agreement that’s called “trade for services”, which means they agree to take a scholarship or some amount of reduced tuition in exchange for playing on the (insert sport here) team.

Paying them is just going to muddy the waters more than they already are, believe me.