Last week football players at Northwestern University won a petition to form a labor union that would allow them to negotiate for players benefits and although it hasn’t been talked about much in the media, the ruling could change the face of college athletics.
When asked his thoughts on the decision, Alabama Head coach Nick Saban said he’s always been an advocate for players rights.
“I’ve always been an advocate of players’ rights,” Saban said. “I’ve always been an advocate of players being compensated the best that we can to help them. I think that having a voice in what happens is something that the players probably ought to have.”
But Saban, who said he needs more info on a potential union before he’d back it, did mention that players are compensated more than the monetary value of their scholarship.
“I don’t think that the players just receive a scholarship,” Saban said. “I think a lot of players really realize that, understand that and appreciate that. We can’t pay them, but we can reinvest in trying to help them be successful in their future.”
“I think that’s what makes great programs,” Saban said. “I think that’s why players want to come and be a part of the program, because we do reinvest in the future and their chances of being successful, and we do care. And it’s not just about football.”
I think Saban’s thoughts are dead on in concept put how successful are they in practice? It’s important to look beyond college football. But I’d love to poll former Tide players who didn’t go on to play professional football to see what kind of assistance was provided to make the road easier for them. We all know a rigorous football schedule often doesn’t allow them to participate in internships, shadowing, or other opportunities that would assist in creating a career off the field. The ability to help the vast majority of collegiate athletes who don’t go on to play professionally with these things is where the true value in a college education/scholarship lies.