Premium Partners

Athletes-as-Employees Model Would Alter ND Approach

Paul Steinbach

The University of Notre Dame is the latest school to express that it would withdraw from the current setup of big-time college sports in the event student-athletes are deemed to be employees, according to athletic director Jack Swarbrick, who appeared as a panelist at a Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Sports meeting Tuesday.

"Notre Dame's just not prepared to participate in any model where the athlete isn't a student first and foremost — that's the hallmark for us," Swarbrick told USA TODAY Sports. "If the entire model were to move toward athletes as employees, we'd head in a different direction. Our president has been clear about that. I'm not articulating a unique position."

It's one that's not unique to Notre Dame, either. Northwestern University president emeritus Henry Beinen, a Knight Commission member, expressed a hope that Northwestern athletics would likewise seek a different approach to athletics, if the National Labor Relations Board concludes that an employer-employee relationship exists. The NLRB is deliberating the March 2014 ruling of regional director Peter Sung Ohr that Northwestern's scholarship football players are employees of the university, a ruling that included an order that Northwestern players vote on whether or not to unionize.

"If we wound up with a business where you wound up paying the players to play, I think alumni would have a different view [of college sports]," Beinen said. "I think the faculty would be unaccepting of it, at least at universities like Northwestern and Stanford and maybe Notre Dame, Rice, Duke. … We haven't gotten there by a long shot. Will we? I don't know. I hope not."

After appearing at a Congressional hearing on the Northwestern unionization effort last May, Stanford University athletic director Bernard Muir told USA Today Sports, "If [Stanford's athletes] are deemed employees, we will opt for a different model."

Speaking at Tuesday's meeting, NCAA vice president Kevin Lennon reiterated the associations long-standing position that student-athletes are amateurs. “Amateur status, as defined by being college eligible, is compromised when they use their athletic skill for pay,” Lennon said. “The introduction of pay may lead some — not all, but some — to not take full advantage of these educational opportunities that are available to them in their college years.”


Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2015/05/19/267217/ncaa-urges-caution-on-idea-of.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2015/05/19/267217/ncaa-urges-caution-on-idea-of.html#storylink=cpy

 

AB Show 2021 in San Antonio
AB Show is a solution-focused event for athletics, fitness, recreation and military professionals.
Learn More
AB Show
Buyer's Guide
Information on more than 3,000 companies, sorted by category. Listings are updated daily.
Learn More
Buyer's Guide