NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith has applauded the efforts of the Northwestern football players attempting to take collective action against the NCAA.
The players, led by quarterback Kain Colter, argue that within the letter of federal labor law, they should be regarded as employess. Unsurprisingly, the NCAA believes that they are not.
Smith appeared on CBS This Morning, and described their actions as the “bet way for college players to protect their rights”. He also pointed out that players are exposed to injuries that aren’t covered by medical insurance, generate millions in revenue for college programs and the NCAA, and in many cases live below the poverty line.
At a press conference yesterday, Colter spoke out against the NCAA:
“Right now the NCAA is like a dictatorship. No one represents us in negotiations. The only way things are going to change is if players have a union.”
The players will put their case to the National Labor Relations Board on February 7, but regardless of the outcome of the case, this could be a watershed moment in the evolution of college sports, and the argument over whether players deserve to be paid for the work they do on the field.