While not immediately, the course of collegiate athletics is in the midst of what will ultimately be monumental changes. Whether that’s good or bad for sports in general and football specifically remains to be seen.
In a historic ruling Wednesday afternoon, the Chicago regional office of the National Labor Relations Board ruled that Northwestern football players meet the standards under federal guidelines to form a union. The initial petition was filed by the National College Players Association on behalf of former Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter and the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA), and had the backing of the United Steelworkers union.
The NLRB ruled essentially what CAPA had argued in stating its case: football players are employees of the university.
“Players receiving scholarships to perform football-related services for the Employer under a contract for hire in return for compensation are subject to the Employer’s control and are therefore employees,” an excerpt of the NLRB’s ruling read.
For now, the goals of the NCPA/CAPA are “better concussion and other medical protections, and for scholarships to cover the full cost of attendance” as well as “a trust fund that players could tap into after their NCAA eligibility expires to finish schooling or be rewarded for finishing schooling.” This ruling does, though, have the potential to open up the possibility of salaries or other financial streams — endorsements, revenue sharing from merchandise sale, etc. — on down the road.
It should be noted that this decision, for the moment, applies only to private institutions such as Northwestern. Public universities, which make up the vast majority of FBS institutions, are under the jurisdiction of state laws, not federal.
Northwestern is expected to issue a statement on the decision in the very near future, at which point the university will likely announce an appeal.
Jim Harbaugh has added more experience and another “name” to his Michigan football staff.
According to NFL.com‘s Albert Breer, Harbaugh has hired Scott Turner as an offensive analyst. Harbaugh’s nine-man on-field coaching staff is already full, but Turner could be in line to join that group if/when the NCAA approves a 10th assistant.
Turner, the son of former Washington, Oakland and San Diego head coach Norv Turner, spent the past three seasons as the quarterbacks coach of the Minnesota Vikings.
Turner has spent the past six seasons in the NFL. His last job at the collegiate level came as the wide receivers coach at Pittsburgh in 2010.
It was previously reported that Harbaugh had, controversially in the eyes of some, hired former NFL offensive coordinator Michael Johnson Sr. to an undetermined off-field position. Johnson, the father of the top-rated dual-threat quarterback in the Class of 2019, ultimately took an on-field job at Oregon.
If it wasn’t clear before, it is now — Kansas’ quarterback room will have a decidedly different look this coming season.
On his personal Twitter account Tuesday afternoon, Montell Cozart announced his decision to transfer from the Jayhawks and finish his playing career elsewhere. The quarterback described it as “a tough decision that brought along a lot of prayer, sleepless nights, and meaningful talks with my family.”
Cozart started five games as a true sophomore in 2014, then started three of the first four games of the 2015 season before a shoulder injury ultimately sidelined him for the remainder of the year. After starting seven games this past season, he lost his job just past the midway point and never got it back.
He received a medical hardship waiver for the 2015 season, giving the graduate another year of eligibility he can use immediately in 2017.
Early last month, Ryan Willis announced his decision to transfer from Kansas to Virginia Tech. Less than four weeks later, Deondre Ford followed his former teammate out the door as well.
Redshirt freshman Carter Stanley took over as the starter for the three last games of the 2016 season and is pencilled in as the starter heading into the offseason. KU also added Peyton Bender, a transfer from Washington State by way of the junior college ranks who’s eligible to play immediately in 2017 and will pose a stiff test for the incumbent.
Two months after deciding to leave Notre Dame, John Montelus officially has a new college football home.
On its official Twitter account Tuesday, Virginia announced that Montelus has signed his grant-in-aid papers with the university and will play his final season for the Cavaliers. As a graduate transfer, the offensive lineman is eligible to play immediately.
Over his four seasons with the Fighting Irish, Montelus played in just six games. A four-star 2013 recruit, Montelus was rated as the No. 8 guard in the country and the the No. 1 player at any position in the state of Massachusetts.
Montelus is actually one of two Irish linemen joining the Cavaliers as transfers, with Colin McGovern confirming last month that he’ll be doing the same. UVa. has yet to officially announce his addition to the roster.
In the midst of spring practice, Duke has seen its defensive line take a twin hit unrelated to any health issues.
Tuesday afternoon, the football program announced that a pair of sophomore defensive linemen, Brandon Boyce and Marquies Price (pictured), have been dismissed by David Cutcliffe. Other than failing to meet the standards of a Blue Devil football player, no specific reason for the dismissals were given.
Both had been expected to contribute significantly this coming season.
Price started all 11 games in which he played during the 2016 season, and started 14 in his career. His six quarterback hurries last year were second on the team.
Boyce played in 21 games during his time with the Blue Devils. Eight of those appearances came in 2016.
In mid-August, it was announced that Boyce was one of two football players suspended for the first three games of last season. Unspecified violations of team rules was the only reason given for that punitive measure.