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Our View: Universities should level the playing field for student athletes

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Our View: Universities should level the playing field for student athletes

Staff

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One of the beauties of attending a university is the ability to join student organizations that coincide with our passions. Students who join university-run extracurricular activities get to explore a variety of interests, and some even receive compensation for their work. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of college athletes.

It’s true that students may join athletic programs for a love of the game, but isn’t that why most of us join any other student activity? If other on-campus organizations, such as student government or student newspapers, have the funding to employ participants and provide them with an official salary or other benefits, why is it different for participants in university sports programs?

A few members of the Northwestern University football team formed a union, and university administrators, along with football coach Pat Fitzgerald, are not pleased. In response, the university appealed the unionization, and its case will soon wind up in the U.S. Supreme Court.

On Saturday, Fitzgerald made his first public comments about the situation and said he has already vocalized his concerns to the team.

USA Today reported that Fitzgerald commented on some of the key issues, which include improved sports-related medical care and reasonable practice schedules.  He said, “All this can be handled with communication. It’s about trust.”

Some of the players, however, such as quarterback Trevor Siemian, might be siding with Fitzgerald as well, according to another article by USA Today.

The group backing the unionization is the College Athletes Players Association, a group led by CAPA President Ramogi Huma, which includes former Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter.

There are ongoing speculations about whether the organization is fighting for salaries for the players, claims refuted by both Huma and Colter.

“The goal is to make athletes have a seat at the table. Health and safety of athletes is the concern, especially to reduce the risk of brain trauma,” Huma told the Associated Press. “We want to make sure they have an opportunity to hear from us directly.”

We side with CAPA on this matter because we feel that the student athletes’ requests are simple and reasonable. Of course we can’t accurately compare Cal State Long Beach to Northwestern, because funding for student programs is entirely different from school to school.

Obviously every university is different, but we feel that student athletes should be treated in a manner comparable to that of other students on campus. If a university has it in the budget to compensate students for participating in extracurricular activies, maybe some of that budget could be used to compensate student athletes.

Major sports stations and universities profit from sporting events; therefore, we feel that student athletes should reap some of the monetary benefits as well considering these students devote a lot of free time to their respecitve sport. Yes, we know they choose to play for their school teams, but they should be respected for the time they invest in the university.

Regardless of how this case plays out, we’re glad that the CAPA gave universities everywhere an overdue reality check.

We hope to see more college sports programs seek to level the playing field.

1 Comment

One Response to “Our View: Universities should level the playing field for student athletes”

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