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Pac 12 ‘s Larry Scott says unions are a terrible idea that could destory college sports

Larry Scott AP

Pac 12 commissioner Larry Scott was already on record speaking his mind about the concept of a players union, but he reiterated his stance in essay form in a guest column for USA Today. Using a statement he agreed was strong in tone, Scott says the decision recently made by the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago to have Northwestern football players recognized as employees of the university, allowing them to pursue forming a union, is a terrible idea and could eventually destroy collegiate athletics.

Scott is a visionary at heart and he is certainly not opposed to making changes for the greater good. This is, in fact, why the Pac 10 brought him onboard as a commissioner as the conference was beginning to expand. It was Scott’s foresight and mindset that allowed him to lead the Pac 10 into a new era, complete with an updated name, logo and a new television network. So when Scott comes out swinging a bat at the idea of a players union as sternly as he does in USA Today, it should not go unnoticed.

“The challenge collegiate sports faces in an era of expanding popularity is to ensure that revenues are used for the benefit of the universities and their students, and to ensure that the paramount role of “student” in “student-athlete” is not obscured,” Scott says in his column. “We need to safeguard and strengthen our commitment to academics to help find the right balance, not throw in the towel and characterize students as employees.”

Scott then goes on to speak on behalf of the entire Pac 12, again stressing the importance of academics within the conference.

“At Pac-12 universities, which are some of the most prestigious academic institutions in the world, student-athletes represent the intersection of academic excellence and athletic achievement, graduating with their fellow students and winning the most NCAA titles of any conference,” Scott says. “Recent Pac-12 football student-athletes Andrew Luck of Stanford and Matt Barkley of the University of Southern California exemplify this balance, opting to delay turning professional to achieve their degrees and reap the full value of their educations.”

Now we just need to get the opinions of Luck and Barkley on the record to see if they help support the statements made by Scott or if they go against the grain of the commissioner’s words.

This is a slightly stronger message being sent by the commissioner of the Pac 12 compared to the statements and quotes recently shared in an interview with, in which Scott said the desire players may have to unionize would radically change the relationship with student-athletes.

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10 Responses to “Pac 12 ‘s Larry Scott says unions are a terrible idea that could destory college sports”
  1. Professor Fate says: Apr 9, 2014 2:16 PM

    Yes, Larry, because the folks who actually produce the money that allows you to be handsomely paid will destroy the game simply by wanting a voice. Scott can’t see the forest for the trees because the NCAA sees everything through the distorted lens of income. The focus is constantly on money, so everything is cast in that light even when it isn’t about money.

    It’s been stated many times that the players want some guarantees (like scholarships that can’t be yanked on a whim) to avoid being tossed aside the moment their ability to generate income ends. Either Scott doesn’t get this, and is obtuse on an epic scale, or he is simply another money-grubbing suit afraid his gravy train might end.

    Scott’s party-line insistence that there is somehow an actual “student-athlete” in the big-money world of NCAA football is laughable. Sixty hours a week dedicated to just football (during a school semester, no less) describes what everyone else in the real world would call a full-time job. With overtime.

    I would have hoped that the obvious would have reached the rarefied air at the top of the college football food chain, but once again the tunnel vision that results from the manic pursuit of money wins out. This is going to be an unnecessarily long and painful process thanks to the hubris of the NCAA and its mouthpieces.

  2. musketmaniac says: Apr 9, 2014 2:35 PM

    news flash… Larry scott is destroying the fabric of college sports

  3. auburntigers34 says: Apr 9, 2014 2:46 PM

    He’s right. I can’t believe that anyone could think that unions in college sports are a good idea.

  4. peopletrains says: Apr 9, 2014 2:55 PM

    No, you mean destroy your profits.

  5. mogogo1 says: Apr 9, 2014 3:07 PM

    I don’t really like the union idea for several reasons. But the lesson here is that it’s very easy to kill the golden goose. The NCAA and all these people like Larry Scott have been showered in money but the idea of sharing even a small portion of it has been distasteful to them. So, by digging in their heels they’re now on the verge of having something very distasteful forced upon them.

  6. auburntigers34 says: Apr 9, 2014 3:21 PM

    mogogo1 says:
    Apr 9, 2014 3:07 PM
    The NCAA and all these people like Larry Scott have been showered in money but the idea of sharing even a small portion of it has been distasteful to them.
    They DO share the profits by investing them in other sports that can’t financially support themselves(men’s baseball, golf, wrestling, swimming, gymnastics,etc….and pretty much every female sport).

    Forget how much it will cost to play the players and the fact that most university athletic depts are lucky if they can break even. There will also be a major backlash from fans/boosters.

    At the very least,if they want to pay the players and treat college football like a farm system for the NFL, take the funds from the NFL and the union dues of the NFLPA.

  7. scbaby2013 says: Apr 9, 2014 3:21 PM

    I wish that they would at least provide medical coverage for players who can’t go pro to take care of their football related injuries after their playing days are over.

  8. jdbaker01 says: Apr 9, 2014 4:19 PM

    Asking the commissioner of the PAC-12 what his opinion of unionization is like asking Jerry Jones his opinion of the Cowboy’s GM.

  9. bobulated says: Apr 9, 2014 4:24 PM

    Don’t think it’s coincidence that he picked as an example two guys from the only private colleges in the PAC-12, i.e. the kind of schools most likely to be the first to unionize if the it picks up steam.

  10. rponciano says: Apr 10, 2014 8:26 PM

    I wonder Why listening to Larry Scott, sounds just like Mark Emmert and the NCAA? Oh ya… I almost forgot,… he use to work for the NCAA

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