No College Football Union Now

The National Labor Relations board (NLRB) ruled unanimously yesterday that Northwestern football players could not unionize. That is the headline and seemingly the bottom line. However, reports on this event are confusing because supposedly the NLRB did not rule on the question of whether the football players were employees of the university. The NLRB said:

“We address this case in the absence of explicit congressional direction regarding whether the Board should exercise jurisdiction. We conclude that asserting jurisdiction in this case would not serve to promote stability in labor relations.”

Now that sounds to me as if the NLRB thinks this is none of their business; yet, somehow their decision in something that is none of their business is binding on the parties here. Whatever… I have never thought that the players’ claim that they are employees of Northwestern made a lot of sense so the ruling here does not offend me but the basis of the ruling is strange.

Yesterday, Robert Griffin III told a Washington TV station,

“I feel like I’m the best quarterback in the league and I have to go out and show that.”

Recently, I offered my rankings of starting NFL QBs and Griffin was in the fourth out of five tiers in my analysis. It is not a bad thing for him to think he is the best and that it is incumbent on him to demonstrate that; however, it does seem a tad delusional.

Ever since about June 1, I have been suggesting that A-Rod is the Comeback Player of the Year. I still think that is the case but would like to suggest three other players who merit consideration for that award:

    AJ Burnett: Last year he was 8-18 (leading the NL in losses) with a 4.59 ERA. This year he is 8-5 with an ERA of 3.06 (the lowest ERA of his 17-year career).

    Matt Harvey: He did not play last year recovering from Tommy John surgery. This year he is 11-7 with an ERA of 2.57.

    Jason Kipnis: Last year he hit .240 with 6 HRs and 41 RBIs. This year, he is hitting .274 with 6 HRs and 39 RBIs – and there are still 6 weeks of baseball left this year.

Recently, Scott Ostler posed this rhetorical question in the SF Chronicle. This could be the subject of a term paper in Philosophy 101…

“If Pete Rose were a Buddhist, would he be banned for more than one lifetime?”

The impending departure of Sepp Blatter from FIFA is not without drama. Blatter and Michel Platini (president of UEFA) are taking potshots at each other and FIFA announced that it has started an internal investigation into “corruption”. Given the fact that this is FIFA, that investigation could go on forever absent some boundary conditions on the “corruption” that might be considered. Greg Cote succinctly put this in focus in the Miami Herald:

“FIFA said it has opened an internal investigation into corruption. That’s like the Mafia investigating organized crime.”

That comment leads me to offer a Quick Quiz:

    Which is the more meaningless entity:

      A. The FIFA Ethics Committee – or –

      B. Pre-season college football polls.

    500 words or less…

Bob Molinaro had this comment in his column in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot recently:

“Enablers: Jimbo Fisher had no choice but to accept responsibility for recent events involving Florida State football players striking women – one caught on video, the other being investigated. But it’s not Fisher’s fault. He’s just a cog in the machine. Put the blame on university presidents and other officials for turning a blind eye to what’s involved in the care and feeding of those athletes who don’t belong on campus. The real scandal is these guardians of higher education are never embarrassed enough by a dubious process to do much more than offer lip service to their schools’ true missions.”

All I can say to that is “Preach on, Brother! Can I get an Amen here?” For me the key phrase in that statement is “athletes who don’t belong on campus”. I know my position can be assailed as elitist and exclusionary; nonetheless, I remain convinced that there are loads of people in college who do not belong there and the percentage of such people who happen also to play a “revenue sport” probably approaches 50%.

There is an interesting situation in San Francisco with regard to the Niners’ training camp. They seem to have gotten control of Mr. Peabody’s Wayback Machine and dialed it back to 2001. Consider:

A Bush (Reggie) came to town

A Gore (Frank) left town.

Similar to what happened in Washington DC back in 2001 when a Gore left town and a bush arrived…

Finally, here is one more comment from Scott Ostler regarding Pete Rose:

“I’m 100 percent in favor of letting Pete Rose into the Hall of Fame, but under my proviso that he has to get past Ray Fosse guarding the door.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

9 thoughts on “No College Football Union Now”

  1. Are you sure it wasn’t the Borowitz Report where you read the announcement that FIFA was conducting an investigation into corruption?

  2. If the Northwestern U players could show W-2 or 1099 forms for their services as football players they might make some headway in their unionization quest.

    1. Hmmm. So, thinking about this brings up other questions. Suppose that a scholarship player at, for example, University of Miami is deemed an employee. Would he or she then be on the hook for taxable income of $44,350 (tuition and fees) for each year?

      1. steve:

        The way I read Publication 17 from the IRS on what is taxable income and what is not, I think they are on the hook to pay those taxes. I wonder if any of the Northwestern players who swore they were employees paid what they would have owed…

    2. Rich:

      Unfortunately, that would require Northwestern University to prepare said documents for distribution to the players. Since Northwestern was the other party to this legal action, it is not likely the players would have such documentation.

Comments are closed.