This is a small lesson for the student athletes attempting to form a union. The key word in this lesson is student.
Students have been fortunate enough to be granted a college education at the expense of the taxpayers and the alumni who contribute to the betterment of universities that provided them the foundation to compete in this world.
You students are among a select group of young men and women who, by academic or physical abilities far above your peers, have been granted this opportunity.
Now, some of you students who are athletes want “a slice of the pie,” in the form of compensation for being able to do something physically better than most others.
To most of us, this smacks of what comes out of the north end of a bull facing south. The simple question is why you? Why not include students who received scholarships for their academic prowess. You understand, the ones you will be working for after you leave the athletic field. The ones that will save your life, better your finances, are elected to represent you in political offices, run large corporations or serve and protect your freedoms in uniform from local police to our nation’s armed forces.
Let us reduce this union idea to its lowest terms. Unions, today, serve only to make money for union elite or retain a job for a union member that does nothing to earn their pay. In a recent extreme, a teacher’s union forced a school system to rescind its firing of a high school teacher that was watching pornography at his desk during school. That is not historically why unions were initially formed. That is just the way they have become. Even if you succeed, a goodly portion of your “pay” will be extracted for union dues.
The unfortunate future for such a union will most assuredly be that of a union organized team who will be forced by their union elite to refuse to play a non-union team. The union elite will dictate who and when you play and, most likely who will be your coaches.
Finally, never forget that you are a student first and, only after classes, become an athlete. You are being enormously compensated by being given tuition, books, housing and meals that cost every other student up to, and in some universities over, $100,000. That is your “piece of the pie.” The most important aspect of this lesson is what you are going to do with all you have been granted after they turn the lights off and you have to return to the real world.
As to the very idea of a union for college athletes, as Forrest Gump said, “stupid is as stupid does.” Mr. Gump was a very wise man.
Michael P. Hudson, Havelock