Comments on: Column: Reforming College Football it's like being there Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:56:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: OWS resident OWS resident Mon, 07 Apr 2014 17:52:53 +0000 I was appalled when I heard that the basketball coaching staff would be getting huge bonuses for every game advanced in the NIT tournament.
The bonus given to the Ohio State AD is simply beyond reasonable.
Here is an idea. If the athletic department feels they need to spread around the pot of gold they get in the post season, why not make this an educational experience for the team. Let the team decide what nonprofits they want to support, and distribute the bonuses to the nonprofits. Some of these athletes are going to soon have more money than they are used to having, and the experience of choosing where to distribute charity would be a good thing.

By: Jack Eaton Jack Eaton Fri, 04 Apr 2014 21:01:58 +0000 The comment posted by Ruth Kraut presents some interesting issues. What would constitute equal treatment of male and female athletes for purposes of providing employment compensation? The interaction between the mandates of Title IX and the collective bargaining process under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) is not clear cut.

It might help to use a hypothetical situation. For purposes of illustration lets imagine 4 teams, 2 male and 2 female. Further, lets say that the two male teams each voted to be represented by a union but only one of the female teams voted for union representation.

If one male team, lets say the football team, negotiated continued medical insurance after playing for the university and the other team, lets say the basketball team, negotiated actual wages while playing, what would the female team members receive? Because each of the male teams is represented by a union, the employer university cannot mandate that they accept the same contract deal. The NLRA prohibits the employer from doing that.

The female team that is represented by a union would also have complete freedom in pursuing the kind of employment compensation its members wanted, without regard to what the male teams received. Any attempt to impose employment terms in that labor contract because of the deal reached with the unions representing the male teams would be an unfair labor practice under the NLRA. Good faith bargaining with the union representing the female athletes might result in a completely different kind of employment compensation than either team of male athletes receive.

The unrepresented female athletes would be entitled to equal treatment compared to the male athletes. But what would that be? Would it be the insurance provided to the male football players or the wages paid to the male basketball players? Would the negotiated agreement with the union representing female athletes have any impact on the question of equal treatment?

I completely support the intent of Title IX. The mandates of that Act will have an interesting impact on the collective bargaining process for each of the unions representing male and female athletes. I don’t think anyone can predict the eventual outcome.

By: Ruth Kraut Ruth Kraut Fri, 04 Apr 2014 14:49:59 +0000 Because the Northwestern students are football players the focus of course has been on revenue-generating sports–men’s football and basketball, mostly.

But the majority of college sports are not revenue generating, and it’s worth looking at how the non-revenue-generating sports, and particularly women’s sports, might be affect.

In any case, the Title IX Blog has two excellent articles about this.

In post #1 [link], Erin Buzuvis writes:

What is the effect on Title IX from all of this? I believe that if the decision results in actual bargained-for benefits for student-athletes of one sex, Title IX would continue to require that such benefits inure equally to student-athletes of the other sex. Imagine that, for example, a football players’ union succeeds in bargaining for extended health insurance — the Northwestern football players’ stated objective. It would clearly violate Title IX if that benefit only applied to male athletes and not female athletes — even though the male athletes bargained for it and the female athletes did not. Title IX regulations require schools to provide equal treatment in the aggregate to its men’s and women’s programs, as measured by a “laundry list” of factors that expressly includes access to medical services, which has been interpreted to include “the equivalence for men and women of…health, accident and injury insurance coverage.”

And in post #2 [link], Erin Buzuvis writes:

I think that the same analysis would apply even if the bargained-for benefit is salaried compensation.

And contrary to what other commentators have stated, I do not think that the revenue-producing nature of the sport is the basis for a distinction.

Here’s why: Because when it comes to the treatment of student-athletes, the revenue-producing nature of the sport has already been rejected as the basis for unequal treatment among male and female athletes. A school could not decide to provide better locker rooms, or more quality coaching staff, or disproportionately high scholarship dollars, or any other benefit to football players on the grounds that football derives revenue and other sports don’t. That is well-settled, “black letter” Title IX law. So the revenue argument would not justify providing extended health insurance to players of one sex. Nor should it justify providing salaried compensation to players of one sex.