The possibility of unionization of college athletics has supporters for both sides of the argument as expected. The debate now is whether giving college athletes rights would affect the integrity of college sports. According to CBS Sports, Alabama’s coach Nick Saban is already voicing his approval to give college athletes more say in the games, and Stanford Cardinal’s coach David Shaw wholeheartedly disagrees.
“I’ve always been an advocate of players’ rights,” Saban said Monday night via the Associated Press. “I’ve always been an advocate of players being compensated the best that we can to help them. Whatever the NCAA rule is and whatever they decide to do, I’ve always been an advocate of the player and the quality of life that a player has. Having a voice in what happens, I think, is something that the players probably ought to have.”
Stanford coach David Shaw said Monday night that he was “confused as anybody as to the importance of [the union].” Shaw added that he has had some “preliminary conversations” with the Cardinal players regarding the Northwestern union ruling.
“I’m curious what’s really driving it,” Shaw said of the union movement. “I’ve seen everything, and everything that’s been asked for, my understanding is it’s been provided. I think Northwestern does a phenomenal job providing for their kids, and it’s weird to try to unionize but still compliment Northwestern and compliment their coaching staff on being taken care of. Those things don’t seem to go hand in hand.”
While Saban doesn’t come out and say he approves unionization of college sports, he does seem to want more balance for college athletes to have more control of their destinies. This has been long debated, and schools make millions of dollars coming from their athletic departments. Whether or not the Northwestern ruling holds up will be a benchmark in deciding the future of college sports.