NCAA Athlete Unions: Will This Change Everything in College Sports?

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In what could potentially become a momentous event for college athletes everywhere, last week, a handful of football players at Northwestern University, led by quarterback Kain Colter, initiated a process that would unionize collegiate athletes. Following the lead of Ramogi Huma, president of the National College Players Association, the Northwestern players submitted the necessary paperwork to Chicago’s regional office of the National Labor Relations Board.

A major factor that went into the hopes of forming a collegiate athletes union stems from the enormous profits the universities make from the teams these athletes play for. In an article published on Business Insider earlier this month, the publication looked at the 25 National Collegiate Athletic Association football teams that make the most money. The most profitable teams — the University of Michigan and the University of Texas — checked in with a combined $189.5 million in revenue for just the football programs. This money does help pay for travel and other costs of running big-time college athletic departments, but needless to say, the players believe that a more sufficient piece of the pie should be included for them.

The NCAA’s argument is simple: The players receive compensation in the form of scholarships and an education. While this is true, the players see themselves as more than just student-athletes. If college athletes are allowed to form a union, they will then be granted collective bargaining rights. This would mean that just as the Major League Baseball Players Association or the National Hockey League Players’ Association have a voice in their respective leagues, college athletes would have a say in their futures.

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