Student athlete unions?


A group of student athletes decided they aren’t getting enough benefits for participating in college sports and petitioned to start a student athlete union. Bad idea. Athletes receive plenty of benefits: tuition, housing, books and meals. At most universities, this totals around $30,000–$50,000 per year. Schools provide tutors for athletes. How about the swag? We’ve all seen them wearing their sweatpants, shorts, t-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, shoes …

The recent meal plan rule is an example of the NCAA already doing tons to improve lives of student athletes. Every athlete will get unlimited meals. And they’re looking into better long-term health care for athletes who sustain injuries in college.

Union demands cost money. Where would it come from? A rise in ticket prices means less fan support. A rise in tuition for regular students isn’t fair. Strip funding from other school programs? Money must come from somewhere.

College athletics are special. Athletes aren’t competing for high contracts or endorsement deals but for the sake of competing. Many of today’s professional sports headlines concern selfish superstars who aren’t happy with huge contracts, refuse to show up until they get their way or try to get their coaches fired because they don’t think they are treated fairly. This is what’s in store for college sports if the athletes unionize.

I’m not bitter about the benefits student athletes receive. College athletes dedicate some of the most important years of their lives to their sports, but they are already compensated for their sacrifices.

Jeff Gassman

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