It seems they are not getting the message.
The SEC is welcoming Texas and Oklahoma, which means, for example, Oklahoma’s volleyball team will soon be playing in Florida, 1,200 miles away.
The Big 12 responded by bringing in Cincinnati, BYU, Houston and UCF. When BYU teams meet UCF, there’s a 2,300-mile journey between Provo and Orlando. But, hey, don’t forget to class at 8 in the morning.
As collegiate athletes gain ground through name, image and likeness compensation, schools continue to pay the two sets of coaches they have hired and those they have fired.
They keep installing fans for parking and priority seating. They’re playing more bowl games to fill network time. They continue to open their basketball season on November 9 and end them in early April.
Music is playing but they are tuning in.
They will have trouble ignoring the note that will ring on Wednesday.
The general counsel for the National Board of Labor Relations ruled that athletes, at least in private schools, are employees. He is no longer considered a “student-athlete,” an underclass created solely by the NCAA to justify the monstrosity he created.
General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo promised to take legal action against schools that insist on the “student-athlete” trope. This is a misclassification, she said, that pretends players are not entitled to the protections of the National Labor Relations Act.
“They are statutory employees,” Abruzzo wrote, “who have the right to act collectively to improve the terms and conditions of their employment. They … render services in exchange for compensation to entities and under their control. are subject.”
It comes three months after the Supreme Court unanimously upheld the lower court’s rulings in US v Alston, and removed limits on what players could get from void. At the time, the Court did not directly address the issue of compensation for current athletes. Abruzzo’s decision can be considered the first blow to the base of that tree.
Bryce Young, the former Mater Dei High quarterback who now starts in Alabama, reached an immediate settlement with Creative Artists Agency and reportedly signed deals worth over $800,000.
LSU gymnast, Livvy Dunne, who has 5.7 million social media followers, struck a deal with Vuori, a sportswear company that will reportedly pay her $500,000.
The NCAA fought the NIL with passion, which stemmed from the original lawsuit filed by former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon, but that should not have happened. Schools are not paying support contracts. In some cases, if there is a financial reason to stay, they may get more seasons than their best players.
But the NLRB’s decision is different. Although Wednesday’s memo was very preliminary, it seems to jump the ball towards empowerment, partnerships, and ultimately a salary.
It would be a budget-buster for schools that play on the margins of big-time college football. Others can handle it.
The SEC’s latest contract with ESPN is expected to pay each college $68 million per year. Going into their TV talks with three different networks starting in 2023, each of the Big Ten schools receives $55 million. The Pac-12’s payout is $32.5 million.
Add to that such licensing deals as UCLA’s recent marriage with Jordan Brand, which will bring in $7.7 million per, and the hardships that a player payroll faces is hard to lament.
Some football programs may not require six strength and conditioning coaches. Maybe a coach like Dabo Swinney of Clemson can learn to live with a South Carolina county with a median income of $49,000 on less than $9.3 million a year.
The ruling affects private schools in particular, but Abruzzo referred to a bill sponsored by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) that allows public school players to organize as well.
It was a day of delayed gratification for former Northwestern quarterback Ken Coulter and teammates. He had a hearing with the NLRB in 2015 but his proposal was rejected. Nevertheless, the NLRB did not dismiss the theory that players are employees.
“Such bargaining never involves a bargaining unit consisting of players from the same team,” the board wrote.
It is difficult to overestimate the impact of Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s jittery opinion in NCAA v Austin, or its blatant invitation to any plaintiff within shouting distance.
“The business model of the NCAA would be completely illegal in almost any other industry in America,” Kavanaugh wrote. “Businesses elsewhere in America may agree not to pay their workers a fair market rate on the principle that their product is defined by not paying their workers a fair market rate.”
It is only right to teach your children that life is not fair. It is wrong to use them as demonstrations.