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.
As you no doubt know by now, the Big 12 announced earlier this month that the conference will expand. Wednesday night, a pair of entertainment heavyweights threw their celebrity behind two of the potential candidates.
A handful of teams have been mentioned as possibilities, from Houston to UConn to USF to BYU to Tulane to East Carolina to Cincinnati to Colorado State to Boise State. Additionally, Memphis and UCF have been heavily speculated on for months, and they’re the two programs that have seen Memphis native Justin Timberlake and Nebraska fan Larry the Cable Guy, respectively, stumping for them within a couple of hours of each other.
It’s highly, highly doubtful that the celebrities throwing their support behind their favorites will have any impact whatsoever on the process or the Big 12’s ultimate decision. Still, it certainly can’t hurt in the court of public opinion.
A situation that began to grow legs earlier this week now has some video evidence to prop it up. Purportedly.
Monday, reports surfaced that a group of Washington State football players triggered a brawl at a backyard party in Pullman early Saturday morning. The players allegedly threw fireworks at attendees, which twice led to a request by the house’s residents to leave. A third request saw the verbal engagement escalate into a physical confrontation on the part of the players, with one of the residents being knocked unconscious for 10 minutes and another sustaining a broken jaw that’s going to require reconstructive surgery.
The names of the Cougars reportedly involved have not been divulged.
A police investigation into the situation is ongoing, and felony charges against those involved are possible. One snippet that will be of interest to those investigating the brawl was obtained and posted by Spokane Spokesman-Review.
Head coach Mike Leach has yet to comment publicly on the incident, although athletic director Bill Moos released the following statement:
In regards to the events that took place over the past weekend, the university was made aware of the situation shortly after the incident occurred. It is our understanding there is a thorough investigation underway by local law enforcement and we will cooperate fully as we take these matters seriously. In addition, facts are being gathered within the athletic department in order to provide assistance. We have high expectations for the conduct of WSU student-athletes, and treat any alleged allegations with the utmost transparency. The WSU athletic staff is in constant communication with the Office of the President and the Office of Student Life to ensure that university leadership is aware of the continuing investigation by local law enforcement. We will refrain from further comment until the findings of the investigation are complete.
For the third consecutive day, it’s time to hit the reset button on the “Days Without An Arrest” ticker.
The latest to trigger a move back to double zeroes is North Texas’ Turner Smiley, with the Denton Police Department’s website showing that the wide receiver has been charged with driving while intoxicated. The arrest took place shortly before 4 a.m. CST Wednesday.
No details of what led up to the arrest and charge are available.
A UNT spokesman first confirmed that the football program is aware of the development, and later a statement attributed to head coach Seth Littrell was released.
We are aware of the situation regarding Turner Smiley from earlier this morning and we are still in the process of collecting all the facts. Until I have an opportunity to talk with him I will refrain from further comment. We have high expectations for all of our student-athletes and we take situations like this very seriously. We will take an immediate and appropriate course of action after I speak with him.
Last season, Smiley was third on the team in receptions (25) and receiving yards (255). He’s the leading returning receiver on the Mean Green, and the only player on the roster with more than 17 receptions last season.
The college football world was rocked by tragedy over the weekend, and it appears another football program narrowly averted its own heartbreak as well.
Thursday evening, the Springfield News-Leader reports, Chase Allen was hit by a vehicle outside of the Iowa State practice facility. Allen managed to jump just prior to impact, although he landed on the car’s windshield, shattering it.
From the News-Leader:
Allen said he had a large amount of broken glass in his back, but managed to avoid hitting his head or suffering any bone injuries.
Allen popped up and was taken to an emergency room by some of his Iowa State coaches.
Allen took 103 stitches on his back after being cut by shattered windshield glass.
“The coaches were there with me in the E.R., and I’ll be cleared when the stitches heal up. (It) could have been so much worse,” Allen said.
According to an ISU official, the tight end should be at least cleared in part for the start of summer camp early next month. It’s likely Allen will be held out of full contact, at least for the early portion of camp.
Allen came to Ames this summer after signing with the Cyclones this past February as a three-star recruit. He was rated as the No. 6 player at any position in the state of Missouri and the No. 26 tight end in the country. In 247Sports.com rankings, only one 2016 signee ranked higher than Allen — offensive tackle Sean Foster.