NCAA president Mark Emmert says unionization would 'blow up' college athletics

Graham Watson
Emmert: Unionization "grossly inappropriate"
NCAA President Mark Emmert answers a question at a news conference Sunday, April 6, 2014, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

In a surprise to no one, NCAA president Mark Emmert is not a fan of unionization.

Emmert, who held a press conference during the Final Four on Sunday, told media that college administrators discussed major changes to college athletics, which included cost of attendance scholarships and autonomy for the five power conferences, but were not in favor of allowing college athletes to unionize.

"To be perfectly frank, the notion of using a union employee model to address the challenges that do exist in intercollegiate athletics is something that strikes most people as a grossly inappropriate solution to the problems," Emmert said. "It would blow up everything about the collegiate model of athletics."

Last month, the National Labor Relations Board sided with a filing by Northwestern football players that recognized them employees with the power to unionize. Northwestern players will vote on whether to unionize at the end of the month.

Emmert did say he agreed that changes needed to be made to some of the structure processes of college football, but he didn’t think unionizing was the best way to go about getting those changes made.

"There's some things that need to get fixed," Emmert said. "They're working very aggressively to do that. No one up here believes that the way you fix that is by converting student-athletes into unionized employees."

The Division I board of directors will meet later this month to discuss a variety of topics, including cost of attendance, and a vote on these topics could come in August.

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Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on Twitter