Tag Archives: College Sports

National Labor Relations Board decision: Northwestern University football players can form union

27 Mar

Moi wrote in College football players want to form a union:
The idea of recognizing that “student” athletes are really low-paid employees of colleges and apprentices in the billion dollar sports industry would force college administrators, parents, and athletes to face some very hard truths. The NCAA has compiled a probability chart which shows just how few student athletes have a realistic change of even being drafted to play professional sports and then go on to have a successful professional career. See, http://www.collegesportsscholarships.com/percentage-high-school-athletes-ncaa-college.htm
Moi has about as much chance of playing for a professional team as the average kid with dreams of sports stardom.

Jorge Castillo wrote an intriguing report in the New York Times about historian Taylor Branch’s Atlantic article. In After Leaving Football, a Historian Emerges as an N.C.A.A. Critic, Castillo reports:

The October issue of The Atlantic magazine featured a 14,000-word cover story by Branch titled “The Shame of College Sports.” Its focus was the N.C.A.A., and the thesis Branch presented was that the organization was little more than a sham, exploiting athletes in revenue sports like football and men’s basketball to make hundreds of millions of dollars while expounding the virtues of amateurism. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/26/sports/ncaafootball/historian-taylor-branch-delivers-critical-view-of-ncaa.html?emc=eta1

The problem is literally 1000s of starry eyed kids and in some instance, stage parents who are willing to do whatever for a slim chance and wealth and stardom. Add to this mix the big business system of agents, coaches, and colleges who want to stay on the good side of powerful alumni.

Brad Wolverton of the Chronicle of Higher Education reported in the article, Northwestern U. Football Players Win Bid to Unionize:

Football players at Northwestern University cleared a significant hurdle on Wednesday, as a regional office of the National Labor Relations Board ruled that they qualified as employees with the right to unionize.
The decision, which the university said it would appeal, could lead to radical changes in how colleges treat big-time athletes. But the appeals process could take years to play out.
Some observers believe a union could allow athletes to share in television and licensing revenue and to secure long-term health benefits. Union leaders say their priority is to ensure the health and safety of players.
The unionization effort is one of several high-profile cases to challenge the NCAA’s amateur system. In interviews on Wednesday, several athletics officials said they believed the cases could prompt colleges to do more to help athletes, whether or not they ever go to trial.
Last week Jeffrey L. Kessler, a prominent sports-labor lawyer, filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA, arguing that it had unfairly capped compensation for players in big-time football and basketball programs at the value of an athletic scholarship. And in June a federal antitrust case involving the use of athletes’ images and likenesses is set to go to trial in California.
Defending Amateurism
Legal experts say those cases have the potential to upend the business of major-college sports. But the NCAA has shown little willingness to negotiate change in its amateur model….
RELATED CONTENT
• Employees or Not? Graduate-Student Assistants Versus Scholarship Athletes http://chronicle.com/article/Employees-or-Not-/145573/
• ‘The Days of the Brown U. Ruling Are Numbered’ http://chronicle.com/article/The-Days-of-the-Brown-U/145575/
• Reactions to the Ruling on College Athletes’ Bid to Form a Labor Union http://chronicle.com/blogs/ticker/reactions-to-the-ruling-on-college-athletes-bid-to-form-a-labor-union/74937 http://chronicle.com/article/Northwestern-Football-Players/145579/?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en S

See, decision: http://www.insidehighered.com/sites/default/server_files/files/NU%20Decision%20and%20Direction%20of%20Election.pdf

Allie Grasgreen and Doug Lederman of Inside Higher Ed reported in the article, Football Players Win Union, for Now:

In what could be a landmark case, a regional office of the National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday backed a bid by football players at Northwestern University to unionize.
“I find that all grant-in-aid scholarship players for the Employer’s football team who have not exhausted their playing eligibility are ’employees’ under” the National Labor Relations Act, Peter Sung Ohr, director of the board’s Chicago regional office, wrote in his ruling. Ohr said walk-on players — those without scholarships — do not qualify as employees.
The ruling cites multiple factors in concluding that the scholarship football players at Northwestern are employees: that they perform services for the benefit of their employer and receive compensation (in the form of a scholarship) in exchange, and that scholarship players are “subject to the employer’s control in the performance of their duties as football players.”
Ohr also differentiated the case of Northwestern’s football players from those of graduate teaching assistants at Brown University (in which the NLRB ruled for the university in 2004) because “the players’ football-related duties are unrelated to their academic studies unlike the graduate assistants whose teaching and research duties were inextricably tied to their graduate degree requirements.”
“The players spend 50 to 60 hours per week on their football duties during a one-month training camp prior to the start of the academic year and an additional 40 to 50 hours per week on those duties during the three or four month football season,” the NLRB ruling said. “Not only is this more hours than many undisputed full-time employees work at their jobs, it is also many more hours than the players spend on their studies.”
The decision is historic in its own right, but coupled with controversies surrounding head trauma, lawsuits regarding athletes’ rights (or lack thereof) to profit off their own image, and a new challenge to the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s antitrust exemption, some experts believe it could contribute to the mounting assault on the underlying viability of the NCAA’s century-old amateur model….
The ruling applies only to private colleges, so athletes at public institutions would have to petition at the state level should they seek to unionize. But if the full board affirms the regional decision, its basis could ultimately be used by athletes at other universities as grounds to seek unionization, said William A. Herbert, executive director of the National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions at the City University of New York’s Hunter College.
“This is an important issue for both NCAA players and universities, along with graduate students throughout the country,” Herbert said. “This case may present, for the NLRB, an opportunity to re-examine the decision of Brown University.”
Ohr noted in his decision that the Brown case, in which graduate teaching and research assistants at private institutions were denied the right to unionize, should not apply to the Northwestern athletes. Northwestern administrators had cited Brown University vs. NLRB in saying that scholarship athletes are not employees.
That decision said graduate students were not employees because they are scholarship students, they play a role in graduate education and have a unique relationship with faculty. In other words, their role as teaching assistants was an educational one. Football players, on the other hand, must fulfill many duties completely unrelated to their education, Ohr said.
Michael A. Olivas, director of the Institute of Higher Education Law and Governance at the University of Houston, said he doesn’t think this issues will ultimately be decided through a series of court rulings.
“I think it’s going to come by Congress looking at this and legislating, because they’re the only ones that can really consider this in the context of antitrust law, employment law, labor law, the variety of very specific subfields that are implicated,” Olivas said. “You can’t just do it on a sort of case-by-case basis….” http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/03/26/nlrb-office-backs-union-northwestern-football-players#.UzPFLSTVoLc.email

Maybe it’s time to look at athletes as apprentices for the sports business. The question then becomes how to adequately compensate fodder for the big business, big money sports machine? Most of the kids who are part of the process will never see a payoff in sports. Maybe the compensation should be an education trust fund for college athletes so that when they are perhaps more mature and more realistic about career prospects, they have the resources for a real education.

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College football players want to form a union

30 Jan

The idea of recognizing that “student” athletes are really low-paid employees of colleges and apprentices in the billion dollar sports industry would force college administrators, parents, and athletes to face some very hard truths. The NCAA has compiled a probability chart which shows just how few student athletes have a realistic change of even being drafted to play professional sports and then go on to have a successful professional career. See, http://www.collegesportsscholarships.com/percentage-high-school-athletes-ncaa-college.htm
Moi has about as much chance of playing for a professional team as the average kid with dreams of sports stardom.

Jorge Castillo has an intriguing report in the New York Times about historian Taylor Branch’s Atlantic article. In After Leaving Football, a Historian Emerges as an N.C.A.A. Critic, Castillo reports:

The October issue of The Atlantic magazine featured a 14,000-word cover story by Branch titled “The Shame of College Sports.” Its focus was the N.C.A.A., and the thesis Branch presented was that the organization was little more than a sham, exploiting athletes in revenue sports like football and men’s basketball to make hundreds of millions of dollars while expounding the virtues of amateurism. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/26/sports/ncaafootball/historian-taylor-branch-delivers-critical-view-of-ncaa.html?emc=eta1

The problem is literally 1000s of starry eyed kids and in some instance, stage parents who are willing to do whatever for a slim chance and wealth and stardom. Add to this mix the big business system of agents, coaches, and colleges who want to stay on the good side of powerful alumni.

Brad Wolverton reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, NCAA to Consider Sweeping Changes in Athlete Aid and Eligibility Rules.

Billion-dollar TV deals and multimillion-dollar compensation packages for coaches have led to growing calls for paying athletes. While Mark A. Emmert, the NCAA’s president, refuses to go there, he supports the idea of giving athletes more money for travel and other incidentals, moving closer to covering their full cost of attendance. Median college costs at public universities exceed an athlete’s scholarship coverage by about $4,000, according to a recent USA Today analysis.
http://chronicle.com/article/NCAA-to-Consider-Sweeping/129483/

Contemplated changes seem calculated to take the heat off the college sports industry.

It probably is not an accident that the same time proposed changes were publicized, the NCCA is promoting graduate statistics, probably to bolster the idea that the “student” athlete reigns supreme. Collin Eaton is reporting in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, Athletes Continue to Graduate at Record Levels, NCAA Says.

Over all, more than two-thirds of the NCAA’s roughly 5,000 Division I teams reported graduation-success rates of 80 percent or higher, while fewer than 4 percent of teams reported rates of 50 percent or lower.
The NCAA uses its own formula to calculate the graduation-success rates of Division I athletes. The figures are different from the graduation rates calculated by the U.S. Department of Education. The NCAA statistics, unlike the federal ones, do not penalize institutions when athletes transfer to other colleges, as long as they depart in good academic standing. [Emphasis Added]
• Table: College Athletes’ Graduation Rates 2011
http://chronicle.com/article/Athletes-Continue-to-Graduate/129529/

Excuse moi for being a tad bit cynical. Were these kids helped or “helped?” Wink. Wink. If you know what moi means. Are these kids taking the classes and are they in the college majors which will give them a chance at life after competitive big money sports?

Most kids will never appear at the Final Four or Superbowl. For kids who possess extraordinary talent and desire to achieve at the top level of sports, of course nurture their talent and their desire. But, society and their families owe it to these kids to be honest about their chances and the fact that they need to prepare for a variety of outcomes.

Brad Wolverton reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, College Football Players Seek to Form a Labor Union:

College athletes on Tuesday took a bold step toward gaining more bargaining power in the National Collegiate Athletic Association, by attempting to form a labor union for big-time football and basketball players.
Calling the NCAA a “dictatorship” that stamps on athletes’ rights and fails to provide adequate long-term health care or educational assistance, football players at Northwestern University petitioned the Chicago office of the National Labor Relations Board to be recognized as employees.
The move, organized by Ramogi Huma, a former UCLA linebacker and founder of the National College Players Association, was prompted by concerns raised by Kain Colter, a Northwestern quarterback who was active in player protests this past season….
NCAA Response
The NCAA, whose colleges have recently discussed giving athletes more rights and better health and safety benefits, defended its amateurism principles. In a statement, the association said that athletes are “not employees within any definition of the National Labor Relations Act” and had no right to organize.
“This union-backed attempt to turn student-athletes into employees undermines the purpose of college: an education,” its statement said. “Student-athletes are not employees, and their participation in college sports is voluntary. We stand for all student-athletes, not just those the unions want to professionalize.”
Jim Phillips, Northwestern’s vice president for athletics and recreation, said in a written statement that the university teaches its students to be leaders and independent thinkers, and that Tuesday’s action “demonstrates that they are doing so.”
He added that Northwestern believes that its athletes are not employees but that the “health and academic issues being raised by our student-athletes and others are important ones that deserve further consideration.”
Representatives of the United Steelworkers union, who is backing the proposal, said at the news conference that their lawyers stand behind it. They believe that college players will be deemed employees and that their scholarships represent payment in return for services.
Experts’ Views
But some labor-relations experts said that players would have difficulty making that case.
“I would be very, very surprised if they won,” said Ronald G. Ehrenberg, a professor of industrial and labor relations and economics at Cornell University. “If they do win, it would potentially lead to an explosion of changes in higher education….” http://chronicle.com/article/College-Football-Players-Seek/144271/

Maybe it’s time to look at athletes as apprentices for the sports business. The question then becomes how to adequately compensate fodder for the big business, big money sports machine? Most of the kids who are part of the process will never see a payoff in sports. Maybe the compensation should be an education trust fund for college athletes so that when they are perhaps more mature and more realistic about career prospects, they have the resources for a real education.

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Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

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COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
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Stupid is as stupid does: Problems with pro sports players begin in grade school

7 Jul

Here is today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports reported in the article, NFL considering not inviting ineligible players to combine:

The NFL is considering not inviting players who are academically ineligible in college to the scouting combine, a league source told CBSSports.com.

The move is being discussed because of the increased scrutiny on the maturity and commitment of the prospects entering the NFL, the source said, adding that if this measure was in place in 2013, a sizable group of players would not have been invited to Indianapolis for the combine. http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/blog/bruce-feldman/22663965/nfl-considering-not-inviting-ineligible-players-to-combine

Really. The problems with athletes begins long before they are being considered for a pro draft.

The Chronicle of Higher Education has an intriguing article by Libby Sandler about whether coaches should be responsible for the academic performance of their players. In Making the Grade Sandler reports:

Head coaches hold significant sway over the athletes on their teams. So why not hold those coaches accountable for the academic performance of the athletes they recruit?

After a year and a half of tinkering, officials of the NCAA have rolled out a new database that they hope will accomplish just that. The first-ever Head Coach APR Portfolio, as the data set is called, includes single-year academic-progress rates—the NCAA’s metric for gauging how well a team does in the classroom—for head coaches in six Division I sports. (The database will be expanded to include the rates for head coaches in all NCAA sports at the conclusion of the 2010-11 academic year.)….

Unfortunately, in this win at all costs culture, schools will recruit a cube of Swiss cheese if the cheese could score some points. Brian Burnsed of US News has an article about player graduation rates.

In NCAA Basketball Graduation Rate Disparity Between the Races Grows Burnsed reports about the costs of sports pressure on kids.

Coaches have a great impact on players, but parents have a great influence as well. Too many players have pressure put on them to succeed in athletics because they are living out a parent’s failed dream or the parent feels the child is a lottery ticket out of miserable circumstances. The outcome of these failed dreams is often devastating.

Most kids will never appear at the Final Four or Superbowl. For kids who possess extraordinary talent and desire to achieve at the top level of sports, of course nurture their talent and their desire. But, society and their families owe it to these kids to be honest about their chances and the fact that they need to prepare for a variety of outcomes.

The NCAA has compiled a probability chart.

Athletes
Women’s Basketball
Men’s Basketball
Baseball
Men’s Ice Hockey
Football
Men’s soccer
High School Athletes
452,929
546,335
470,671
36,263
1,071,775
358,935
High School senior athletes
129,408
156,096
134,477
10,361
306,221
102,553
NCAA Athletes
15,096
16,571
28,767
3,973
61,252
19,797
NCAA Freshman Positions
4,313
4,735
8,219
1,135
17,501
5,655
NCAA Senior Athletes
3,355
3,682
6,393
883
13,612
4,398
NCAA Senior Athletes Drafted
32
44
600
33
250
75
Percentage: High School To NCAA
3.3%
3.0%
6.1%
11.0%
5.7%
5.5%
Percentage: NCAA To Professional
1.0%
1.2%
9.4%
3.7%
1.8%
1.7%
Percentage: High School To Professional
0.02%
0.03%
0.45%
0.32%
0.08%
0.07%
The National Collegiate Athletic Association, NCAA, has estimated that the chances of competing in your chosen sport at the college level is not great. For example, only 3% of high school senior basketball players will play NCAA sponsored basketball. These figures do not take into account the opportunities that are available to compete in the lower divisions of the NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA.
Read more. What are my chances of playing college sport?

In other words, most kids need to prepare for a life outside of athletics and for parents who are living out their dreams and hopes through their children, to tell them differently is reckless.

As anyone who has lived a few years knows there are no sure things or guarantees in life, as the NCAA probability chart illustrates. Athletes can be injured or cut from teams. A promising star high school star may never make it to a high paying professional position. Many “adults” were certainly not giving many children a good grounding in reality which they will need especially if they are successful. Successful will need all their wits about them to keep away from the scamps and scoundrels. And don’t forget the groupies who want to become WAGs and Baby Mamas. Some players have so many Baby Mamas they are literally looking at being called the “sperm donor,” not father of a nation. Successful people need to be grounded.

If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders.

Abigail Van Buren

We have the Bill of Rights. What we need is a Bill of Responsibilities.

Bill Maher

We should all be glad that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did not choose to dribble a basketball.

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The NCAA changes grade eligibility requirements

9 Apr

The Chronicle of Higher Education has an intriguing article by Libby Sandler about whether coaches should be responsible for the academic performance of their players. In Making the Grade Sandler reports:      

Head coaches hold significant sway over the athletes on their teams. So why not hold those coaches accountable for the academic performance of the athletes they recruit?

After a year and a half of tinkering, officials of the NCAA have rolled out a new database that they hope will accomplish just that. The first-ever Head Coach APR Portfolio, as the data set is called, includes single-year academic-progress rates—the NCAA’s metric for gauging how well a team does in the classroom—for head coaches in six Division I sports. (The database will be expanded to include the rates for head coaches in all NCAA sports at the conclusion of the 2010-11 academic year.)

The academic-progress rate, which is now in its sixth year, assigns scores to all Division I teams based in large part on the retention rates and academic eligibility of their athletes. The new “portfolio” for coaches, available to the public on the NCAA’s Web site in a searchable format, shows the single-year team scores for each program a coach has led, dating back to 2003-4. The NCAA will update the database every spring when it releases new academic-progress rates for teams.

Unlike the academic-progress rate for athletes, which can trigger penalties for some teams that fail to achieve a certain score, the new mechanism for coaches carries no threat of punishment. Instead, NCAA officials say, it is intended only to increase the transparency of head coaches’ academic priorities and aid recruits and their families, as well as athletic directors and college presidents, in evaluating how seriously a coach takes academics.

Unfortunately, in this win at all costs culture, schools will recruit a cube of Swiss cheese if the cheese could score some points. Brian Burnsed of US News has an article about player graduation rates.

In NCAA Basketball Graduation Rate Disparity Between the Races Grows Burnsed reports:          

While college basketball players graduate at a higher rate than nonathletes, the NAACP and the Department of Education argue that universities are leaving some of their student-athletes behind. Their concern arises from the expanding fissure between graduation rates of white and African-American college basketball players. According to a study of basketball players’ graduation rates from 1999 to 2003 recently released by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida, 79 percent of the teams in this year’s men’s NCAA Tournament graduated at least 70 percent of their white athletes, while only 31 percent of the teams in the field graduated at least 70 percent of their African-American players. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, a former college basketball player, says, “I grew up with too many players who played on successful teams who no one frankly cared about their educational well-being. And when their playing careers were done, they struggled.”

Seventeen teams in this year’s men’s tournament had a 50 percent or greater disparity between graduation rates of white and African-American players. In fact, only three schools in the tournament—Texas A&M University, the University of Washington, and Oakland University—graduated African-American players at a higher rate than whites….

To help bridge this gap, Duncan suggests that schools that cannot graduate at least 40 percent of their student-athletes be banned from postseason play. If the rule was applied to this year’s tournament, 12 of the 65 teams would be locked out of the tournament. Three of them are No. 6 seeds or better—the University of Tennessee, the University of Maryland, and the University of Kentucky. “If you can’t manage to graduate two out of five players, how serious are the institutions and the colleges about the players’ academic success?” Duncan asks. “How are they preparing student-athletes for life?

Generally coaches who have been players know the difficulty that most students will have in an attempt to compete at the professional level. The NCAA has compiled a probability chartwhich shows the chances of a student athlete making to college and the professional ranks of sports. In other words, most kids need to prepare for a life outside of athletics and for parents who are living out their dreams and hopes through their children, to tell them differently is reckless.

Bryan Toporek reports in the Education Week article, NCAA to Launch Academics-Based Ads for High School Student-Athletes:

During a press conference at the Final Four of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament on Thursday, NCAA president Mark Emmert announced that his organization will be launching a series of academics-based advertisements targeting middle- and high-school student-athletes in the coming months.

Back in October 2011, the NCAA Division I board of directors approved a proposal that raises the academic eligibility standard for incoming student-athletes. Freshmen only need to enter college with a 2.0 GPA to be eligible for athletics now, but starting in August 2016, they’ll need to have a 2.3 GPA or higher in core courses to have immediate access to competition.

From August 2016 onward, if a student-athlete meets the current 2.0 GPA requirement but fails to reach the 2.3 GPA required for competition, he or she will still be allowed to remain on his or her athletic scholarship, under another proposal approved in October 2011. The NCAA refers to this as an “academic redshirt” year.

Based on when this higher academic standard takes effect, current collegiate student-athletes aren’t the ones who have to worry about this particular rule change. It’s the K-12 student-athletes who need to be concerned if they hope to participate in intercollegiate athletics after graduating high school.

Emmert and his staff are well aware of this fact. That’s why the NCAA is developing a program called “2.3 or Take a Knee,” Emmert said during his Final Four press conference on Thursday.

“We’re going to be launching a variety of advertisements that are geared toward youngsters, which means nobody in this room will get the jokes, but that’s okay,” Emmert said at the press conference, according to a transcript from ASAP Sports. “It’s not aimed at us, it’s aimed at young people to get them to understand that not only do they need a good jump shot, they need good grades in math if they’re going to be successful in NCAA athletics.”

The NCAA’s website already features a “2.3 or Take a Knee” section, detailing the exact minimum academic requirements for all incoming student-athletes starting in August 2016. The NCAA eligibility center also contains the academic information for college-bound student-athletes, detailing what will change between now and the start of the 2016-17 school year. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/schooled_in_sports/2013/04/ncaa_to_launch_academics-based_ads_for_high_school_student-athletes.html?intc=es

Coaches have a great impact on players, but parents have a great influence as well. Too many players have pressure put on them to succeed in athletics because they are living out a parent’s failed dream or the parent feels the child is a lottery ticket out of miserable circumstances. The outcome of these failed dreams is often devastating.

Most kids will never appear at the Final Four or Superbowl. For kids who possess extraordinary talent and desire to achieve at the top level of sports, of course nurture their talent and their desire. But, society and their families owe it to these kids to be honest about their chances and the fact that they need to prepare for a variety of outcomes.

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