Because the College Athletes Players Association argues a relationship between a player and his coach should be considered an employee-employer relationship, Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald was asked to testify against his players on Friday.
The players union formed by Northwestern football players has been in court this week with the hope of being able to move forward with their unionization plans. To do that they must get a court to rule in their favor about how student athletes should be classified. If they can get a ruling to determine they should be classified as employees of Northwestern University, the next stage may begin. One of the key witnesses turned out to be Fitzgerald, who continued to side with the official university line that players should not be considered employees of the university.
“We take pride in developing our men to be the best they can be in everything they choose to do,” Fitzgerald said, according to USA Today. “Our goals are simple: We want to graduate 100% of our players and prepare them for life, and we want to compete for championships.”
The legal team representing the players argued a head coach should be classified as an employer because it is he who ultimately controls the compensation for the player. A coach can pull a scholarship at any time from a player, for example. Fitzgerald stated that is an unlikely situation at Northwestern, but he could not dispute that fact, which is written out in the team rules.
As USA Today points out, it seems as though Northwestern and the players are arguing from two different angles. Northwestern continues to defend their policies by arguing they put academics first, but the players are attempting to prove the players have no representation under any circumstances in which a coach treats the players or the team unfairly. Nobody has accused Northwestern or Fitzgerald of any wrong doing. The players are simply looking to set a precedent that will benefit their cause in the long term.
As if this day wasn’t busy enough, Ole Miss announced late Monday evening star-crossed offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil‘s suspension has been capped at seven games, meaning he’ll miss Saturday’s trip to Memphis but return in time for Texas A&M visit to The Grove on Oct. 24.
From the university:
The University initially withheld Tunsil from competition at the start of the season as both the NCAA and the University examined several alleged improper benefits. During the course of the process, it was determined by the NCAA that Tunsil received impermissible extra benefits that included the use of three separate loaner vehicles over a sixth-month period without payment, a four-month interest-free promissory note on a $3,000 down payment for purchasing a used vehicle, two nights of lodging at a local home, an airline ticket purchased by a friend of a teammate, and one day use of a rental vehicle. In addition, it was determined that Tunsil was not completely forthcoming when initially questioned by NCAA investigators regarding the loaner vehicles. He later corrected his account and since apologized.
As part of his reinstatement conditions, the NCAA imposed a seven-game suspension, ordered Tunsil to pay the value of the extra benefits to a charity, perform community service, and he will also make the vehicle down payment.
Said Tunsil: “I take full responsibility for the mistakes I made and want to thank everyone for their continued support. I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and the entire Ole Miss family for how my choices affected our program. This was a learning experience, and I’m looking forward to being back on the field with my team and redeeming myself. The last 10 months have been a physical and mental battle for me, but I love playing this game more than anything else. I want to be here for my teammates who are depending on me to finish what we started together.”
The news is, obviously, great for Tunsil and head coach Hugh Freeze personally, as well as the entire Ole Miss football program. It’s also a nice plus for NFL scouts, as it means Tunsil’s first live action of 2015 will come against possible future No. 1 draft pick Myles Garrett.
Hope he’s been practicing.
Say it ain’t so, Steve.
According to a report from Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated Monday evening, Steve Spurrier is set to retire.
Spurrier, 70, is a legend the likes college football has never seen before and never will again.
He was a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at Florida, then returned to his alma mater and turned the program into a juggernaut, leading the Gators to 122-27-1 record from 1990-01 and a national championship in 1996. After a stint with the NFL’s Washington Redskins, Spurrier landed at South Carolina, where since 2005 he’s racked up a school record 86 wins.
But those wins slowed down of late. After an SEC East championship in 2010 and three straight 11-2 seasons from 2011-13, the Gamecocks fell to 7-6 in 2014, and are off to a 2-4 mark this fall. With the possibility of losses to nemeses old and new like Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida and Clemson ahead, Spurrier, it appears, would rather fade away quietly to the putting green.
Perhaps no two sentences summarize Spurrier, then and now, more precisely than this:
Combined with his three years at Duke, Spurrier closes up shop with a 228-89-2 mark, and a bust in the coaches’ wing of the Hall of Fame waiting for him.