With today’s announcement that football players at Northwestern have taken the first step toward what it hopes to be a union protecting the interests of the athletes in that sport, there will likely be months, even years of public back and forth between that side and the universities that comprise the NCAA.
Shortly after the College Athletes Players Association, the entity that would serve as the player’s union should it be certified through the National Labor Relations Board, concluded a press conference detailing its goals and initiatives, the NCAA released a statement addressing what could ultimately become a monumental development in the sport and forever change the face of collegiate athletics.
Below is The Association’s standard-issue, laughable response, which is attributed to NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy:
This union-backed attempt to turn student-athletes into employees undermines the purpose of college: an education. Student-athletes are not employees, and their participation in college sports is voluntary. We stand for all student-athletes, not just those the unions want to professionalize.
Many student athletes are provided scholarships and many other benefits for their participation. There is no employment relationship between the NCAA, its affiliated institutions or student-athletes.
Student-athletes are not employees within any definition of the National Labor Relations Act or the Fair Labor Standards Act. We are confident the National Labor Relations Board will find in our favor, as there is no right to organize student-athletes.
When it comes more to undermining the purpose of an academic institution, we’ll allow you to determine who’s done more damage: the players who are attempting to form a union or the universities that with one hand collect billions of dollars off the backs of college football players while simultaneously using the other to push its sham “student-athlete” agenda.