PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – On Tuesday, WPHT’s Dom Giordano talked to Lori Pelletier, Executive Secretary-Treasurer from the AFL-CIO in Connecticut, about the possibility of college athletes unionizing.
Click link below to listen to the podcast…
Pelletier defended comments made yesterday by University of Connecticut basketball player Shabazz Napier that college players sometimes struggle with hunger issues.
“This is a college student, who by the rules of the NCAA, is not allowed to have any kind of work study. He can’t have a job. I don’t think that it is far-fetched,” she said.
She said both colleges and professional sports leagues benefit from college athletics, and the time has come to reconsider the terms of the scholarship agreement.
“This isn’t just a one-time incident here at the University of Connecticut. We had it at Northwestern University, these student athletes saying ‘Hey wait a minute, this university makes a lot of money off of us’… really we’re talking about these two sports programs, football and basketball, where the NFL and NBA are getting a free ride as far as a farm team. They let the colleges do it.
They let these athletes do it and then they get into the pro ranks, and they reap the reward,” Pelletier stated.
Pelletier believes the schools and the NCAA benefit much more from the current system than do the student-athletes.
“These student-athletes are working anywhere from 50-70 hours a week. They’re being told when to practice. They’re being advised on which classes to take that would probably be easiest for them. At the end of the day, they are generating huge amounts of money. The NCAA over the course of the last 30 years has really exploded…They know it’s a money maker. It’s a money maker because they’ve got people that are working for a minimal amount of money,” she said.
She says recent court decisions that allow players to unionize have the potential to be very beneficial.
“All these rulings are doing is creating an opportunity for a conversation. Let’s take a look at what’s happening with our college athletes,” Pelletier commented.