ESPN reports that Georgia Bulldogs running back Todd Gurley has been suspended indefinitely, reportedly for getting $400 to sign 80 pieces of memorabilia on the Georgia campus last spring. The NCAA favorite’s prospect to win the Heisman Trophy, college football’s highest honor, goes out the window with the suspension. According to the report, NCAA rules stipulate that student players cannot sell their autograph, likeness or memorabilia.
This harkens back to the question, why can’t these college players who rake in billions of dollars for the NCAA and their respective colleges earn some type of compensation, even if the governing bodies create a controlled environment.
In another ridiculous twist, on Friday, Georgia was no longer selling Gurley No. 3 jerseys on its official website. The school was previously selling two Nike jerseys — one for $134.95 and one for $89.95.
The IndyStar.com recently looked at and counted the NCAA’s money. In that report the digital platform reported the NCAA’s revenues and cash flow approached a billion dollars. Insane money and pure insanity not to share at least one-tenth of one-percent with the players.
It is no wonder why in March the National Labor Relations Board ruled that football players at Northwestern University could create the nation’s first union of college athletes.
The decision by a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board answered the question at the heart of the debate over the unionization bid: Are football players who receive full scholarships to the Big Ten school considered employees under federal law, thereby allowing them to unionize?
Peter Sung Ohr, the NLRB regional director, said in a 24-page decision that the players “fall squarely” within the broad definition of employee. This was a stunning blow to the NCAA that could revolutionize a college sports industry worth billions of dollars and have dramatic repercussions at schools coast to coast.
The ruling addresses a screwed up situation in American college sports, where the “tradition” of college competition has created a system that generates billions but relies on players who are not paid. Kind of like slavery! (There, I said it!)
Now the smart money would be for the NCAA to quickly take a step back, come up with a plan to grant clemency and figure out a way to circumvent mass unionization across the board. Because frankly, if I were an athlete risking limb and potential concussion death for the NCAA while struggling economically, I’d personally organize the union at my school. But that’s just me!
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