Monday, March 31, 2014
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Photographer: David Banks/Getty Images
The Northwestern Wildcats celebrate their win against the Iowa Hawkeyes in this Oct
By Mason Levinson
Northwestern Universityfootball players were given the right to form college sports’ first labor union in a ruling that could seismically change the $16 billion business of top-level university athletics.
Peter Ohr, the National Labor Relations Board regional director in Chicago, ruled that all scholarship football players at the Evanston, Illinois, school who have not exhausted their college eligibility are “employees” and ordered an immediate election to create a union board.
Northwestern said it would appeal yesterday’s 24-page ruling, which for now only affects athletes at private schools and not at public universities, to the full NLRB in Washington.
The decision, which comes as the National Collegiate Athletic Association is defending separate lawsuits that challenge its authority, has the potential to force a change to the business model of college sports, which generate $16 billion annually in revenue.
“Today, college athletes are employees,” said Ramogi Huma, a co-founder and president of the Northwestern players’ group that won the right to unionize. “It’s a first step toward forever changing the balance of power and guaranteeing players have a seat at the table and the right to bargain for basic protections.”
In his ruling, Ohr said the scholarship football players are employees because they are compensated and come under the university’s control. The NLRB governs the rights of private-sector employees, meaning that the ruling only affects athletes who compete at private schools. Public-school players seeking to unionize would have to gain approval from state-run labor boards.
“This is totally uncharted territory,” Paul Haagen, a professor of sports and contract law at the Duke University School of Law in Durham, North Carolina, said in a telephone interview, adding that it’s less likely the players will prevail at the national level. Duke, like Northwestern, is a private university.
The Northwestern players submitted a petition to the NLRB in late January, seeking to give 85 scholarship players the right to vote on representation and stating that NCAA rules were unjust.
The group is trying to secure guaranteed coverage of sports-related medical expenses for current and former athletes, as well as compensation for sponsorships. The players also are seeking to create a trust fund to help former players finish their degrees and push for an increase in athletic scholarships.
Henry Bienen, Northwestern’s president emeritus, said this month that giving athletes the right to unionize might chase schools from top-level intercollegiate sports.
“A union means collective bargaining over a whole range of issues,” said Bienen, a member of the Knight Commission whose mission is to ensure athletic programs operate within the educational goals of their schools. “If we got into collective bargaining situations, I would not take for granted that the Northwesterns of the world would continue to play Division I sports.”
Alan Cubbage, vice president for university relations at Northwestern, said in a statement that the school was disappointed by the decision.
“While we respect the NLRB process and the regional director’s opinion, we disagree with it,” Cubbage said. “Northwestern believes strongly that our student-athletes are not employees, but students. Unionization and collective bargaining are not the appropriate methods to address the concerns raised by student-athletes.”
Lisa Powers, a spokeswoman for Pennsylvania State University, said the school “is firmly committed to the bedrock principles of amateurism.”
“We believe that all Penn State student-athletes are students, not employees,” Powers said in an e-mail.
The NCAA, while not a party to the NLRB action, said in a statement that it disagrees with the decision and opposes a move to “completely throw away a system that has helped literally millions of students over the past decade alone to attend college.”
Separately, the NCAA and five top conferences were sued twice this month by college players seeking to improve their financial standing.
A group of football and basketball players filed an antitrust suit that called the organizations a “cartel” that generates billions of dollars while illegally capping the pay of student athletes. The suit is seeking to bar the NCAA and the conferences from stopping schools that want to compensate players.
Also this month, the NCAA and five conferences were sued in San Francisco by Shawne Alston, a former West Virginia University football player who claims they conspired to limit the value of scholarships to less than the actual cost of attendance.
The NCAA also is a defendant in a case brought by former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannonand other athletes, who seek to profit from the use of their likeness in video games.
“It’s a very significant move,” James Quinn, a senior partner at New York-based Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP, said in a telephone interview. “Given all of the other pressures on the NCAA and member institutions, things are going to change.”
Richard Southall, director of the College Sport Research Institute at the University of South Carolina, said the ruling could lead to further changes.
“If this stands, if the players are employees, the next question is, do they have the right to control the use of their name, likeness and image?” he said. “Can they be forced to sign that over?”
The 123 schools in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision turned a $1.3 billion profit on $3.2 billion in revenue in the fiscal year ended June 2013, according to data schools submit to the U.S. Department of Education.
NLRB hearing officer Joyce Hofstra took five days of testimony last month from individuals called by the players and the school.
Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter, a co-founder of the players association who compared the NCAA system to a dictatorship before the hearings, testified that players spend 40 to 50 hours a week on football and have to sacrifice their bodies to do so. He also said that the time commitment kept him from pursuing a plan to enter the school’s pre-med program.
Among people Northwestern called to testify were football coach Pat Fitzgerald, school administrators and three former players who said that football didn’t keep them from succeeding as students.
College athletes, who can receive scholarships but are not paid, help generate more than $16 billion in television contracts, as well as revenue from sponsorships, ticket and merchandise sales, and payouts for championships.
“The Northwestern case will work its way through the court system over the next few years, and we will closely monitor it and maintain a dialogue with our student-athletes about how we can improve,” Pat Haden, athletic director at the University of Southern California, said in a March 6 statement on auniversity blog. “I have looked at the demands of the Northwestern players, and quite honestly, we provide most of those already at USC.”
The United Steelworkers Union backed the players’ NLRB petition and is paying their legal fees.
The case is Northwestern University, 13-RC-121359, National Labor Relations Board, Region 13 (Chicago).
To contact the reporter on this story: Mason Levinson in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at email@example.com Dex McLuskey, Rob Gloster
Current USM Wrestling student athlete, Brandon Sodergren (149) will be running in this years Boston Marathon in honor of "Fallen Soldiers" of the Iraq/Afghanistan War. Sodergren has served our nation as a United States Marine for the past 6 years and was involved in 2 tours in Afghanistan. Brandon is representing a young Marine who lost his life in Afghanistan in 2004 who's father helped victims during last years Boston Marathon bombings! Another amazing accomplishment from a USM Wrestler!
Click to watch WMTW story
Click to watch WMTW story
GORHAM, Maine – Juniors Jonathan Deupree (Ozona, Fla./Countryside) and Sean Fagan (Arlington, Mass.) and freshman Daniel Del Gallo (Gardiner, Maine) of the University of Southern Maine Huskies wrestling team each earned New England Wrestling Association (NEWA) post season honors following a vote of NEWA coaches.
Del Gallo earned All-NEWA honorable mention honors and was selected to the NEWA All-Rookie team at 149 pounds. Fagan, a junior tri-captain, was selected to the honorable mention team at 197 pounds, while Deupree, also a captain, was named to the All-NEWA second team.
Del Gallo's first season with the Huskies was a tremendous success culminating in a record of 20 wins and eight losses. Del Gallo narrowly missed out on all-region honors for the Huskies at the NCAA Division III Northeast Regional Championship posting a 2-2 record against some of the toughest competition in the country. His strong wrestling throughout the season earned him New England Wrestling Association (NEWA) Rookie of the Week honors on February 11 and saw him ranked as high as fourth individually. During the season, Del Gallo placed second at the Ted Reese Invitational and took the 149-pound title at the North Atlantic Wrestling Championship. His outstanding work in the classroom earned him National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Scholar All-American honors. Del Gallo has a 4.0 grade point average and is majoring in Sociology/Philosophy.
Fagan is earning NEWA honorable mention honors for the first time in his career. Grappling at 197 pounds, Fagan posted a 24-10 overall record. He had eight wins by fall and totaled 109 points for the Huskies' in his junior campaign. Fagan is a 2013 All-Region wrestler, placed second at the Williams Invitational and Ted Reese Invitational and fourth at the Roger Williams Invitational. At the North Atlantic Wrestling Championship, Fagan won the 197-pound title.
After a highly successful junior season, Deupree became the sixth Huskies' wrestler to advance to the NCAA Division III National Championship, joining Adam Farrington (1999 and 2001), Steve Valastro (2007), Mike Morin (2008, 2009, 2010), Matt Ulrich (2010) and Billy Cole (2011). Deupree earned his berth to the NCAA National Championship capturing the 184-pound title at the 2014 NCAA Division III Northeast Regional. Deupree's outstanding wrestling at the Northeast Regional earned him co-Most Outstanding Wrestler honors at the tourney. Deupree finished the season with a remarkable 29-3 record, including seven wins by fall.
Southern Maine finished its season with a 13-7 record in dual meets.
Monday, March 24, 2014
Roger Moore | NCAA.com
Paul B. Bowker | NCAA.com
CLEVELAND -- The wrestler can dance.
When the buzzer sounded to finish off Joey Davis’ 72nd consecutive college win Saturday night at Cleveland Public Hall, Davis put his arms at his side and put his body into a rocking motion.
He pointed at the hundreds of screaming Notre Dame (Ohio) fans in the balcony and began a celebration that really went on for nearly two more hours at the NCAA DII Wrestling Championships.
Davis, a sophomore from Compton, Calif., won his second national championship by defeating Adam Walters of Findlay 4-1 in the 174-pound final. The victory was the 39th consecutive for Davis this season after also going unbeaten with a national title in 2012-13 at 165 pounds.
Sunday, March 23, 2014
Roger Moore | NCAA.com