Blue and Gold Illustrated

June-July 2014

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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UPON FURTHER REVIEW TODD D. BURLAGE "If you do not change direction, you may end up where you're heading." — Lao Tzu, ancient Chinese philosopher T his sage proverb ap- plies to almost any business, lifestyle or individual pursuit, and certainly to today's NCAA student-athlete. A change in college athletics is necessary and long overdue. The catalyst finally arrived when the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago recently ruled that football play- ers at Northwestern were employees of the university, paving the way for the formation of labor unions among college athletes at private institutions. In a landmark event, the Northwestern football players voted last month on whether to unionize, seeking leverage when negotiating with their school over additional scholarship benefits and better medical coverage. We won't know the results of the vote for months. The ballots have been sealed and seized, pending appeals and further litigation. And while most "exit polls" suggest that the Northwestern players voted against unionizing, the tally count doesn't really matter. The rhetoric of even forming a labor union has caught the attention of university presidents and the NCAA because it potentially threatens their lucrative status quo. Hiding behind a mis- sion statement that in- cludes "nobody is above the rules" and "fully ac- countable," the hypocriti- cal NCAA chronically ig- nores its own guidelines and essentially exploits and pillages its member students for billions of dol- lars while refusing to share any of the wealth. By virtue of just pull- ing back the curtain and calling attention to the injustice that has been de- livered by the NCAA for decades, the College Ath- letes Players Association (CAPA) has already won, whichever way the vote comes out. Just the threat of players unionizing has shaken the landscape of college ath- letics, including at Notre Dame. It's understood that a scholarship to Notre Dame or any other university is a handsome payment to a student in and of itself. But CAPA is rightfully asking for additional benefits that would cover all of an athlete's university expenses be- Time For Change In NCAA Has Arrived When asked about the union vote at Northwestern, Brian Kelly said he supports whatever is best for the players — but that he was not sure treating student-athletes as workers is the proper course. PHOTO BY JOE RAYMOND

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