The results of the voting by the Northwestern University football players on whether to unionize are supposed to be kept secret, but that’s unlikely. In fact, just hours after the ballots were cast on Friday morning, an anonymous player basically spilled the beans by saying almost all the players voted not to unionize. Although that’s all we have to go by at this point, it will be very disappointing if the official results prove his notion.
This one anonymous player told the Chicago Tribune he’s “80 percent sure” the results will yield a decision not to unionize and even gave a personal estimate that almost every one of the 76 eligible players actually voted. That’s especially surprising because — if this anonymous player is right — it means the players have no intention on following through with this unionization thing considering the speculation before the voting was that not nearly all of the eligible players would actually cast their ballots.
The players have been diligent about not letting this become the focus of their program at Northwestern and this anonymous player told the Tribune “it has been a big distraction” and the players who did vote to unionize don’t want to reveal that for fear of being “criticized by teammates and alums”.
Now, as has been the common theme among columns across the sports world on Friday, this vote is now a side story because the Northwestern players already changed the landscape of college sports when the National Labor Relations Board ruled they are employees and have the ability to unionize. With all of this being so new and uncertain, NCAA opponents like me want to see the Northwestern players unionize right away just to force the incompetent organization into action that will result in actual changes. Since it could literally be months before we know the results of the voting, the NCAA has plenty of time to come up with some bogus way to avoid changing its current structure, which is hanging by a thread.
Ideally, the NCAA would just allow athletes to profit off their own names in ways such as accepting money for their autographs and leave everything else the same, although that’s easier said than done and it will never happen. Thus, if the only alternative is for Northwestern to back college athletics’ pathetic excuse for a governing body into a corner and wait for it to implode, then a pleasant surprise in the voting results for the players to unionize would be a dream come true.