by Doug Book, staff writer
Last year, twenty one year old Northwestern University quarterback Kain Colter decided he could “…revolutionize the way collegiate athletes are treated” by forming the first players union in NCAA athletics. A union…”would put the athletes in a position to bargain, to demand things that college athletes have never had before — like stipends, continuing medical coverage after graduation, more concussion testing and even a portion of the profits of the multi-billion dollar windfall created by college football and basketball,” writes CNN reporter Sara Ganim of the benefits players might realize. (1)
On March 26th, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regional office in Chicago removed a major impediment preventing players seeking union representation by ruling that Northwestern University is an employer. This makes the approximately 85 players on scholarship university employees, enabling them to organize the first labor union in college athletics. The newly formed union could “…seek representation with the College Athletes Players Association, a first-of-its-kind labor organization, backed by the United Steelworkers.” It was the United Steelworkers that financed the players efforts, paying the legal fees necessary to submit the case to the NLRB.
Of course, the NLRB has always been a misnomer for a group which, thanks to its perpetual anti-employer bias, should have been named simply the National Labor Board. And as the vote was held at the Chicago office under the aegis of the Obama Administration, the outcome was never much in doubt.
And now, look for reporters throughout the nation to follow the lead of Mason Levinson of Bloomberg News who writes: “The 123 schools in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision turned a $1.3 billion profit on $3.2 billion in revenue in the fiscal year ended June 2013, according to data schools submit to the U.S. Department of Education.” (2) Countless similar articles will appear in the liberal media (and sports reporters are some of most decidedly left-leaning) providing accounts of shameless moneygrubbing on the part of colleges and universities wallowing in outrageous profits generated by football and basketball programs yet sharing not one penny with the talented athletes whose abilities and hard work make all of that revenue possible. Sixteen billion dollars was generated by NCAA Division 1 athletics during 2013, writes Mr. Levinson.
But few will mention the enormous expenses faced by college athletic departments or the effects of that little thing known as Title IX which mandates that anything offered males in a university athletic setting must be offered to females as well. Case in point, in 2010, men’s basketball at the University of Florida generated a net profit of $2.2 million dollars. The ladies team lost a net $2.8 million. And Florida’s is far from a unique case.
Of the 228 NCAA, Division 1 athletic departments in the 2011-2012 season, just 23 “generated enough money on their own to cover their expenses.” Sixteen of these schools received subsidies from students, the state or from the school itself! During the 2009-2010 season only 22 of 120 schools playing Division 1 football were profitable. In the previous season, that number was 14. (3)
Yet Bloomberg News writer Levinson makes much of the fact that 123 schools playing NCAA Division 1 football net some $1.3 billion on $3.2 billion in annual revenue. Like most liberals, expenses do not help his agenda along, so they are ignored.
The NLRB ruling affects only private colleges and universities like Northwestern. IF these athletic programs survive–and that’s a big if–organized labor will have continued its proud history of destruction. And make no mistake, state schools will surely be targeted.
Student athletes “…don’t have a seat at the table,” said Northwestern’s Kain Colter at a recent news conference. (1)
Not to worry, Kain. Soon the table will be gone and no one will have a seat.