NCAA football union is a step forward

In the sports world, it’s of utmost importance to protect the athletes that play the games we enjoy.

To shield these players, organizations like the National Football League Players Association, Major League Baseball Players Association and others become unions to protect all who participate in the sports themselves.

Player unions, much like regular worker unions, strive to represent and protect the rights of the athletes in all major sports.

Exercising the use of these player unions is usually so fundamental that it’s hardly even an after thought.

That’s why former Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter garnered attention last week when he and other Northwestern football players submitted a petition to the National Labor Relations Board for union representation for NCAA Division I football.

Northwestern is seeking equal representation for football players in the NCAA with financial, academic and physical issues.

Ragomi Huma, the president of the National College Players Association, offered his take on the situation.

“This is finally giving athletes a seat at the table.” Huma told ESPN’s “Outside the Lines”. “Athletes deserve equal voice when it comes to their physical, financial and academic protections.

If college athletes were to be able to receive these safeguards, this would be a step in the right direction for NCAA, which does not provide much compensation for injury or representation in academic situations.

However, with this petition for unions coming amid the ongoing debate to pay players, some may use the unions for the wrong reasons. Athletes may try to use the unions to bring a salary to themselves.

The argument is over whether college athletes should be paid like professional athletes. And while that debate may be for another column, it will certainly be a debate that becomes enlarged if the Northwestern players succeed in creating player unions.

It’s been widely viewed in all of the major collegiate sports over the nation that college athletes, and even college coaches, believe that they should receive payment for playing in games.

However, if it were to be that these unions would lead to paying players, then that would undermine the reason for creating these unions in the first place.

The main reason that these player unions would be formed to represent the collegiate athletes in the aspects of sports that the have no representation or say in. Those who would use the unions to pay athletes would not use them for the right reasons.

Don’t let this take away from what the players at Northwestern are striving to achieve. The idea of unions in college sports would make a great addition to not only the game, but to the NCAA as well.

Now, the unions themselves would take years and most likely go through federal courts to come to a decision. But, with the debate on whether to pay athletes or not circulating at the moment, the possibility is definitely there that the unions would be approved for all the wrong reasons.

Chris Kwiecinski is a sophomore sports communication major from Vernon Hills, IL..

Direct comments, questions and other responses to ckwiecinski@mail.bradley.edu.