Athletics directors release statement against Northwestern players' effort to unionize

Nick Bromberg
Athletics directors release statement against Northwestern players' effort to unionize

Not surprisingly, the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics is opposed to the ruling in favor of Northwestern players wanting to unionize.

The NACDA released a statement Friday saying that the group disagreed with the National Labor Relations Board's ruling Wednesday that Northwestern players could vote to form a union and have the opportunity to collectively bargain.

The NLRB said players were employees of the athletic program. The athletic directors obviously don't see it that way.

"There is a well-defined process to resolve this matter," the statement said. "While we respect the regional directors’ opinion, we believe participants in intercollegiate athletics are students and their choice to participate enhances their collegiate experience and therefore disagree with the ruling. We support Northwestern University in its appeal to the full National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C. on the basis of the arguments set forth in their brief.

"Intercollegiate athletics and its attendant scholarship opportunities ($2.7B/year across all NCAA divisions) are a component of the educational mission. While providing affordable access to higher education, Intercollegiate Athletics develops 21st century leaders who have been tested in the classroom and in competition – a combination that affords them a significant competitive advantage in life.

"As Athletics Directors, we believe in the collegiate model for all student-athletes and are opposed to differentiating within groups of our overall student-athlete population. We are committed to working with our students every day toward their academic and athletics goals."

It also makes sense because athletic directors would undoubtedly not want to deal with the issues that would come out of unionization or pay-for-play efforts. While some, including many players, feel payment of players is necessary, it's a big task that would change the shape of many athletic departments. And in an environment where an athletic director received an $18,000 bonus for a wrestler winning a national title, change isn't in the best interest of those at the top.

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Nick Bromberg is the assistant editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!