College athletes take step toward forming union

MICHAEL TARM Associated Press Published:

CHICAGO -- Calling the NCAA a dictatorship, Northwestern's quarterback and the United Steelworkers announced plans Tuesday to form the first labor union for college athletes -- the latest salvo in the bruising fight over whether amateur players should be paid.

Quarterback Kain Colter detailed the College Athletes Players Association at a news conference in Chicago, flanked by leaders of Steelworkers union that has agreed to pay legal bills for the effort. The NCAA and the Big Ten Conference both criticized the move and insisted that college athletes cannot be considered employees.

Colter said the NCAA dictates terms to its hundreds of member schools and tens of thousands of college athletes, leaving players with little or no say about financial compensation questions or how to improve their own safety. That college football generates hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue only bolstered the argument for a union, he said.

"How can they call this amateur athletics when our jerseys are sold in stores and the money we generate turns coaches and commissioners into multimillionaires?" Colter asked.

"The current model represents a dictatorship," added Colter, who just finished his senior year with the Wildcats. "We just want a seat at the table."

Colter said "nearly 100 percent" of his teammates backed the drive to unionize. But only he spoke publicly, saying the others wanted to keep a low profile.

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  • "The Union;" wow.  Way to place all unionizing activities in to one (stereotypical for your obvious line-of-thought) "They" mentality. This is a perfect example when a union is doing something good.  How would the students have the resources to even combat the giants that are Big Ten and NCAA?  Colleges and Universities ahve done this to themselves too.  Overpaying coaches and taking focus away from educational pursuits.  Entertainment and education are two different things.

  • Another way for the union to make money. What are they going to charge these students to be in this union. Is the union going to dictate what these players can and can't do?  Will they determine who can play or which position they can play. CWill they be able to play in more than one postion or on both sides of the ball. In the regular work force they can't.  Better look deep and hard about having a union represent them.