A recent development is that the National Labor Relations Board has reacted positively to the notion that the athletes of Northwestern University can unionize, and negotiate with the university as to how they might be treated. They opened the door for the College Athletes Players Association to be voted on by secret ballot as a collective bargaining agent.
In fact, the NLRB has asserted that they are employees of the university!
This can potentially be a game-changer in big time athletics! Right now, the Division I universities are making out like bandits when it comes to the revenues from some of their sports programs. Maybe the time for athletes' rights has come; they work (my choice of words is deliberate) anywhere from 30 to 50 hours per week while the season is in force, Also, there is the rather lame concept that the NCAA has fostered regarding the student-athlete that seems to play into an excuse to subject these young people to such abuses.
There is a kind of institutional peonage that big-time college athletics has become.
Of course, Northwestern University has served notice that it plans to appeal; and the NCAA has issued a statement deploring the NLRB ruling. No surprise here.
In my opinion, university athletes should be treated as salaried employees. They should be provided fringe benefits, including health insurance, unemployment insurance, and other expectations that go with the modern workplace environment.
In short, the athletic scholarship is not enough. It's time for a square deal.
Yes, Southeastern Conference; this should mean you too!