NCAA Says Labeling Athletes as Employees is ‘Destructive’

The NCAA has filed an amicus brief in support of an appeal on Northwestern’s behalf of an National Labor Relations Board ruling that said Wildcats scholarship football players are university employees.

The brief, filed on the national ‘s NLRB deadline day for such documents, read, “Declaring scholarship student-athletes to be employees would have many far-reaching destructive consequences.”

According to the NCAA, it would be detrimental to consider student athletes as employees, as the importance of the educational programs would become minimalized.  Also, student athletes would be isolated from the rest of the student body.  The educational opportunities given to these athletes by the colleges they attend would be fundamentally altered, writes Daniel Uthman for USA Today.

Countering those filings was one from a group of more than 30 sports economists and professors of sport management, who wrote that “the concerns that (a) college sports is too poor to afford unionization, (b) the competitive balance among teams will be fatally disrupted by unionization, and (c) the advances by women athletes through Title IX will be arrested are all dubious claims based on the existing body of economic research on intercollegiate athletics.”

According to Florida State University starting quarterback Jameis Winston, a free education is “enough.”

In his single season as a starter, Winston threw the winning touchdown in the national championship game, won the Heisman Trophy, and won over the fans with his personality.  He also dodged rape allegations with no charges and was caught shoplifting crab legs from a supermarket, writes Jon Solomon for CBS Sports.

“I have a certain standard that I’ve got to hold myself up to,” Winston said Sunday at the ACC Football Kickoff, “and if I go even an inch below that standard, it’s going to be chaos.”

With regards to the supermarket incident, Winston simply said that he “fixed it,” and that he has “matured and understands what it really takes to be a leader.”

Winston, who gets butterflies before every game, is eligible for the NFL Draft at the end of this season.

While many college athletes believe they should be getting a cut of the money generated from ticket sales and other things associated with sports, Winston is content to simply get a free education, saying “We’re blessed to get a free education … and that’s enough for me.”

The main issue for many student-athletes and their proponents is that the universities they play for rake in millions of dollars in ticket sales, concessions, TV contracts and jersey and apparel sales, while the athletes on the field get only a monthly stipend as part of their scholarships – scholarship athletes are not allowed to hold a job during the school year.

Attorneys for the NCAA concluded their amicus brief by writing, “Scholarship student-athletes are not employees, they are students – exclusively – first, last and foremost.”

An official ruling is expected later this summer.

07 23, 2014
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