College athletes: slaves to the system?

Jen Silvestri, Contributing Writer

The average full-time job consists of a 40-hour work week. Now imagine attending school and working a full-time job simultaneously. Exhausting, isn’t it? Let’s say your full-time job took you away from class once a week and had you working overtime on the weekends. Additionally, this job consists of getting tackled by 400-pound linebackers, memorizing play books, perfecting routes, and running sprints in 30 pounds of gear. Now remember, you still have to do all your work to keep your grades high enough to remain eligible to play so that your 40 hours of practice per week count for something. A little much, right? I think so.

At Northwestern University, football players have stood up against the NCAA and unionized. In a lawsuit accompaniment with the Chicago district of the National Labor Relations Board, the football team is starting to fight for their rights. Although Northwestern University argues that its student athletes are just that—students before athletes—the football team disagrees. The team members are now considered employees, which has been ridiculed by the Big Ten as well as the NCAA. Through unionization efforts, these students have hopes of recovering compensation for the time commitment they provide to their university as well as for the medical bills they will run into, whether it be during their college years or in the distant future. Unsurprisingly, this victory for the Northwestern football team has created controversy of all sorts.

Florida State University football player Chad Mavety feels that Northwestern’s rebellion is a breakthrough in the world of collegiate athletics. He contends that his scholarship is for his athletic services and that his academics are valued secondarily. A players’ union can only protect an athlete who will be giving 40 hours per week to his career as a football player for the next four years. Protection is what these players need the most. It may seem far-fetched, but it is completely necessary. Collegiate athletes need rights. They need proper compensation. And above all, they need to be heard.

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