Colleges and Conferences Making Major Strides On Student-Athlete Compensation, But Is It Enough?

December 16, 2014 – In The News
The Lexblog Network

Nancy Yaffe was quoted in The Lexblog Network article, “Colleges and Conferences Making Major Strides On Student-Athlete Compensation, but is It Enough?” Full text can be found in the December 16, 2014, issue, but a synopsis is below.

In light of recent disputes involving the NCAA comeback, many have been asking whether or not college athletes deserve to be paid. However, this question only seems to raise further questions as to what compensation comprises.

Nancy Yaffe weighs in, explaining that student-athletes’ demands are not solely driven by financial motives or attempts to join a union, but are more about fair treatment:

“When we train employers on how to stay non-union, we focus on two things: fair compensation and appreciation of work done. Apparently, the NCAA rules allow for neither, and that is the problem.

I was surprised to read that the players don’t necessarily want to be paid as employees. What they want is to be guaranteed a spot at the school with paid tuition until they graduate, or perhaps some incentives by the schools to get them to complete their educations. Apparently they are also hungry and the rules limit how much food the schools can provide. They want medical coverage for sports related injuries, especially those that might last way after their school years end.

They also have safety concerns, including better procedures to reduce head injuries. They want to stay at school if they are injured or their sports-career is not successful. And finally, they would also like to be able to pursue commercial sponsorships much like Olympic athletes do, to cash in on their “15-minutes” of fame and defray some of the costs associated with sports. For example, college athletes do not have time to get part-time jobs and many sports have NCAA rules that actually prevent them from doing so.

What these athletes want is pretty darn reasonable, and right now they don’t have a seat at the table to get the issues addressed in any significant way. They feel used and abused, and that is always a problem.”

She notes that the NCAA is bound to change, however the circumstances of this change are unclear. It could develop from a formation of a union or athletes start being defined as employees.

Click here to view the full article.