Warhawks unite: football needs to unionize

Dakota Ratley

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Friday evening, scholarship football players at Northwestern University football players voted on whether or not to form a union.

ULM should be next.

The NCAA has never been under public scrutiny as much as it is today. First, Northwestern took steps to unionize. Next, Shabazz Napier called out the NCAA on not having enough to eat after leading UConn to a title.

Just recently, the public came down on the organization after they penalized a Michigan basketball player for his entire senior year for testing positive for marijuana once.

If college athletes truly want change, now is the time to go make it happen.

Unionizing basically means that athletes would be treated like employees of the university. They may not be paid for their efforts, but they would be entitled to benefits such as being protected in case of injury sustained while competing for the university.

The criticisms against unionizing are not hard to find. Many will say that it threatens the sport and hurts the school. Others will say that student-athletes are compensated by the scholarships given to them by the schools.

Also, students being employess might mean they could be fired.

The leader of the Northwestern union movement, former Wildcat quarterback Kain Colter, explained his stance during his testimony on the subject.

“I absolutely hate when people use the term “free ride.” We earn everything we’re given through blood, swear and tears,” he said.

Unionization may hurt the program for a year or two while all the legal proceedings go through, but isn’t it worth it in the long run? Progress never comes without a price.

The process of unionizing is not necessarily meant to harm the university but the NCAA. The NCAA writes the university’s checks. That’s why universities are against this. That’s why now is the time for college athletes to make the move. There is a ton of momentum and waves of public support against the tyranny of the NCAA.

The student-athletes are the only ones who can make this happen. Northwestern started the process of putting pressure on the NCAA to make changes. ULM can help carry the torch and become a part of history by unionizing.