Northwestern Football Players Win Right to Unionize, College Athletics in Danger

By Connor Muldowney
Kain Colter
Getty Images

College athletics are in for quite a change in the near future. Thanks to the Chicago district of the National Labor Relations Board, the Northwestern Wildcats‘ football team has won a bid to become a union, changing the landscape of college athletics as we know it.

What does this mean? According to Kain Colter, the main advocate for unionization of college athletics and Northwestern in particular, college athletes should be considered employees because they do everything an employee does, but have gotten no compensation for the millions they generate for each college and university.

National Labor Relations Board director, Peter Sung Ohr, claims that the players’ time commitment and the fact that their scholarships are based solely on their success in the athletic field qualifies them as employees rather than student-athletes.

This whole situation puts paying players just one step closer in college athletics.

In my opinion, that is something that should not happen for the good of the sport. Collegiate athletes are recognized as student-athletes and they are rewarded with a free education as well as free room and board as long as they stay in campus housing. Free meals and sometimes even clothes — like the sweatpants and sweatshirts with the school’s logo that athletes wear around campus constantly.

Sure, they work hard and spend a lot of time dedicating their lives to a sport, but in the end, they are receiving a free education while other students find themselves in debt when they leave college. It’s up to the athlete to utilize a free education so they have something to fall back on once sports are no longer part of that athlete’s life.

This is just one step closer to ruining college athletics.

Connor Muldowney is the Content Associate for Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at

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