The National Labor Relations Board overturned a previous ruling which allowed NCAA athletes to form a union. The NLRB's reason for overturning the original ruling was that allowing athletes to unionize would not promote uniformity, because each college could set up different rules for pay, practice time, etc....
I know the cost-of-attendance stipend is starting this year and that is a step in the right direction if paying athletes is the new reality. Now I can't help but wonder if unions in college athletics would be a good thing. I think a better way to go is for the NCAA to finally relent and pay college athletes. I agree that uniformity is needed when so there are so many schools and so many athletes to oversee. The NCAA could lay the rules for which all schools are made to follow. Therein would lie the difference between professional and collegiate athletics. All athletes are paid the same in college regardless of stature or team. There are no free agent deals or jersey deals. The NCAA could write out weekly checks. Yes the boosters would still probably pad the pockets of the players behind the scenes (please don't act like this doesn't happen), but I can't imagine a scenario where that activity is 100% stopped. I know it isn't nearly as simple as it sounds but it can't be impossible to do either.
I used to think that college athletes are being paid. They are given scholarships to play which should help them become professionals in athletics or business. Beyond the scholarship, part of the "pay" the athletes receive are future earnings. Having a college education statistically leads to higher earnings, so by playing college athletics and earning a degree free of charge they will now make more money in the future. While a large part of me still believes this to be true, I also can't turn away from the fact that billions are being made by others off of the blood, sweat and tears of these athletes. Then it hit me (not sure why it took me so long)...that is the reality of the business world most of us live in today.
Companies want to pay little to nothing to employees so the person(s) up top makes the most money possible with as little effort as possible. I know that is not all businesses, but as a consumer it feels a lot like that at times, especially when I visit certain airlines or cell phone stores. Those companies where few alternatives exist excel at giving me bad customer experiences. They have very little to gain ensuring a great customer experience because again the customer has few alternatives. In college athletics the twist is that they have very little reason to keep their "employees" (players) happy either because they will only be around for a few years.
I am not sure what the best resolution is, but it doesn't feel like the NCAA is in any hurry to reach one. Ultimately, I favor fairness over all the other points and if the NCAA is getting rich it is only right for them to share the riches with those doing the work.
I typically don't do polls within Raider Read articles, but I am interested to see where you guys stand on the issue so vote below and let's find out.