On Wednesday, the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago ruled that football players at Northwestern University are employees and can unionize. The athletes have stated that they are seeking better scholarship opportunities, medical coverage and even the possibility of getting paid.
The university has stated that it plans to appeal the decision, saying that its college athletes are simply players, not employees.
For the sake of avoiding a spiraling debate that has potential to change the world of college sports as we know it, we’ve decided to side with Northwestern administrators who oppose this radical change.
Student athletes shouldn’t be compensated with a paycheck – that’s how it’s always been and always should be. Just because football or basketball players aren’t cashing checks doesn’t mean they aren’t being compensated for the work they put in on the field or court. Athletes are given an opportunity to attend higher education on scholarships, some of which likely pay more when you consider they are tax-free and can amount to tens of thousands of dollars easily for out-of-state students at big-time universities.
Getting paid would suggest that college athletes are simply carrying out job responsibilities instead of a recreational activity on game day, which could take away the fun and sanctity of watching the NCAA.
At the end of the day, the college athletes are involved in this situation because a love for their sport once sparked their drive to compete. Once money is too involved, that love and passion will be focused elsewhere.