With the revenues of major college football sky rocketing along with the tectonic shifts in conference alignment and the imminent changes to the sport’s post season is it time for the players to take a real stand? As the power brokers maintain their vice grip on all the cash, what say do the young men have in receiving a more reasonable return on their investment?
This goes beyond the concept of a college scholarship being adequate compensation. These guys are putting their physical well beings on the line every week and there comes a point where enough is enough. The players have absolutely zero say in the governance of the game despite taking all of the risk. So I will ask the question. Is it time for college football players to start a national union?
Sure, call me a pinko commie. I will take that title as long as I stand on the right side of the issue. This has less to do about sharing in the revenue than it does about scholarship protection and adequate health insurance after a player finishes his eligibility. This is why I think a union makes sense for college football. The more we read about the chilling effects a collision sport such as football has on the human body, they more some entity needs to do the biding on behalf of the players that is independent from the NCAA.
A unionized work force is clearly a pipe dream right now, but could gain steam if enough players at major institutions take a stand and unite. This would be an uphill battle since the political rhetoric surrounding labor unions isn’t exactly accommodating. Plus the current structure in college football will do everything in their power to prevent the players from uniting. With that said how can a large contingent of college football players be stopped if they do form some type of union? Even if it begins as a symbolic measure, the amount of attention such an action could draw would be unprecedented. The major networks like ESPN will likely bury a story to start with since their interest would lie in the current revenue model. Any changes on behalf of the players could only adversely affect their bottom line.
The good news is that these young men wouldn’t have to rely on ESPN or any other network to spread the word. Most of these guys have thousands if not tens of thousands of twitter followers. A unified front on social media could quickly sway public opinion and force the NCAA’s hand in dealing with this new entity that independently represents the players. If we are all sick and tired of the NCAA, this may be the best way to finally take them down.
I am putting it out there, let’s support these young men’s right to unite and speak on their own behalf. They ought to have a say in their own health and physical future. It’s the right thing to do.