LARNED — You’ve struggled, cussed and grumbled but you have finally made it to your $1,000 seat.
You’ve got a $10 hot dog in one hand and a $10 program and a $5 coke in the other.
But it’s worth it.
Your Kansas Jayhawks (you may substitute Kansas State Wildcats or Wichita State Shockers here) are in the Men’s 2016 NCAA national championship game against Roy Williams and his North Carolina Tar Heels.
You’ve spent a ton to be in Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas, but by golly you want to see your team beat “Ole’ Roy.”
Then the announcer says, “THIS GAME HAS BEEN CALLED DUE TO A STRIKE BY THE NORTH CAROLINA PLAYERS!” He goes on to say that the Kansas team has voted TO NOT cross the picket lines.
This could very easily happen at some point in the future.
College athletes being able to unionize is the hot topic in collegiate athletics. Athletes at Northwestern University are actually voting this week whether to form a union.
Just as in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s when workers across the world united and formed trade unions because of poor working conditions, poor wages AND no say in how their work life was managed, today’s collegiate athletes are balking and talking unions BECAUSE the NCAA has used the same heavy-handed, selfish-with-the-money approach that the manufacturing bosses did decades ago.
This is different you say?
Different that a college athlete from a poor family that is making his University and the NCAA millions of dollars from the games he plays cannot afford to pay for a visit to his home, that he/she cannot afford to go to a movie, go on a date, eat an extra meal?
Does that exist? Yes.
Is it the majority? No, but the fact remains that the NCAA, the universities, the coaches and athletic directors are rolling in dough.
The new contract that the NCAA signed for the media rights for the four-team football playoffs boggles the mind of even Scrooge McDuck and his billions.
Is there any question that most of the athletes that are on campus at the major universities are there to play their sport?
Isn’t it clear that almost all of them were recruited to those “hallowed halls of academia” to play their sport, NOT to mix test tubes in the chemistry department?
The NCAA is treading on thin ice here.
They’ve tipped their hand that they may not be holding a winning hand by announcing in recent weeks that they are looking at increasing the food allowance and “perhaps” some travel allowances for scholarship athletes.
That’s like tossing little scraps of meat to a raging, rabid dog to keep him from biting you! I don’t think that is going to work with the Fidos of big-time collegiate athletics.
Former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon has filed a suit against the NCAA because the NCAA is making a fortune showing old game films of which he was a player in.
Not a penny of that money goes to the players, nor former players.
That lawsuit is scheduled for trial in June. If the NCAA loses that lawsuit it’s KATY BAR THE DOOR!
All of that said, I am not in favor of college athletes forming unions.
What I AM in favor of is the NCAA, its member universities, the athletic directors and the highly-paid coaches sitting down and fairly start spreading some of this wealth to the players.
That old adage, “You can pay me now or you can pay me later” certainly applies here.
It is time to end the selfish party that the athletes were not invited to.
You can also lower the price of a ticket!
Charles Tabler is a contributing writer from Larned.