Mem­bers of the Wildcat foot­ball team at North­western Uni­ver­sity have filed a rep­re­sen­ta­tion peti­tion with the Regional Office of the National Labor Rela­tions Board in Chicago, seeking a Labor Board-​​conducted elec­tion to deter­mine whether a majority of the players want to be rep­re­sented by a union for pur­poses of col­lec­tive bar­gaining. This week, a Labor Board hearing officer is receiving the evi­dence the Labor Board will need to deter­mine whether it should pro­ceed with the case. While this is a unique sit­u­a­tion regarding col­lege ath­letes, a rep­re­sen­ta­tion pro­ceeding is a common prac­tice, occur­ring more than a thou­sand times a year.

The news media have focused on the North­western peti­tion because of its poten­tial impli­ca­tions for col­lege sports. Some com­men­ta­tors por­tray the case as col­le­giate Armageddon. Our nation’s col­lege cam­puses would be pol­luted by mil­lion­aire col­lege ath­letes. The foot­ball team could even strike! The results of this, we are told, would be dis­as­trous for uni­ver­si­ties and for the sporting public.

Many folks can under­stand the raw deal col­lege ath­letes receive when the NCAA cartel caps their com­pen­sa­tion to tuition, books, room, board and a small stipend. Col­lege ath­letics pro­duce mil­lions in rev­enue for their col­leges, but the stars of the game cannot receive com­pen­sa­tion com­men­su­rate with their con­tri­bu­tion to the enter­tain­ment they pro­vide. It is a sweet deal for colleges.

Read the article at Huffington Post →