It will be the end of the game! Parents won’t be able to play catch with their kids! Snow will fall up! The terrorists will win! So said critics of the possibility of baseball players being free agents (when the issue came before the Supreme Court in 1915), and when Major League baseball integrated in 1947. And so, now, say critics now of NCAA players possibly unionizing. And they’re not standing by while those darn unionists destroy America, apple pie, and the opportunity for athletes to promote cars and tortilla chips!
This week, Ohio Rep. Ron Amstutz, who technically is the sponsor of a large bill drafted by John Kasich our august governor regarding various budget issues, wants to make sure that college athletes can’t unionize. Not that anyone has proposed it, but, by gum, he wants to get ahead of the game. As quoted by the Cincinnati Enquirer, Amstutz said that “I think we’re proactively restating that college athletes are not employees. If it ever comes up, it will be in the law.” He’s just trying to prevent the nightmare scenario that Sen. Lamar Alexander from Tennessee envisions, of “a university’s basketball players striking before a Sweet Sixteen game demanding shorter practices, bigger dorm rooms, better food, and no classes before 11 a.m.” Claims Alexander, “This is an absurd decision that will destroy intercollegiate athletics as we know it.”
Meanwhile, in the Nutmeg State, at least there’s some semblance of sympathy for NCAA athletes: Connecticut Rep. Patricia Dillon is considering proposing state legislation to make sure that her state’s college athletes do have the option to unionize. She told the Hartford Courant that “A lot of people look at athletes and assume that they’re pampered, and that’s not true at all, especially when you look at how much money is being made off them.”
You might recall that the University of Connecticut won both the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball championships this year, and that star UConn men’s hoops player Shabazz Napier told reporters that despite the millions UConn’s making off his team and jersey, there are nights he goes to bed hungry:
I just feel like a student-athlete, and sometimes, like I said, there’s hungry nights and I’m not able to eat and I still got to play up to my capabilities. … When you see your jersey getting sold — it may not have your last name on it — but when you see your jersey getting sold and things like that, you feel like you want something in return.
Incidentally, the salaries of the coaches in the men’s NCAA championship game this year? John Calipari, $5.2 million; Kevin Ollie, $1.25 million. But don’t cry for Ollie; after winning, he’ll no doubt get a raise.