The Libertarian Podcast: Is Unionization the Future of College Football?


In this week’s installment of The Libertarian podcast from the Hoover Institution, Professor Epstein and I discussed the recent NLRB decision allowing unionization for college football players at Northwestern University.

Is it legitimate for college athletes to claim “employee” status? Can college sports survive the implications of this ruling? Is it an injustice for these students not to be paid? And would higher education be better off being decoupled from athletics, especially those that are functionally semi-pro? Those are some of the questions we explore in this episode:

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  1. Yeah...ok. Inactive

    Notre Dame -32 vs Stanford! What year is this 1994?

    • #1
  2. Giantkiller Member

    Unionization of college athletes?  Certainly, in one way it is merely recognition of reality.  College “sports” are professional, money-making operations.  Pretending they follow the old Enlightenment model of “mens sana in corpore sano” has long – long – been a sham.  The next step is just to recognize the sports professionals as employees of the colleges, pay them a salary, and drop the pretense that they are students in any meaningful way.

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  3. Idahoklahoman Member

    What about the vast majority of schools where the student-athletes are students in a meaningful way?

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  4. Giantkiller Member

    I suppose it’s possible.  My undergrad experience was at the University of Michigan – I guarantee that those guys were not students, and this was in the early 70s.  During the 90s, some of my responsibilities involved students at the U.S. Academy – based on that experience, I would say that right around half of the football team were actual students, who actually became effective officers.  The rest – not really, although USNA went further to protect the image of the student-athlete.

    However, if your experience was different, which your post suggests, I accept that and stand corrected.

    • #4
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