Forming unions has always been the best way to force recalcitrant ownership/administration to do the right thing. I'm speaking as the son of an Old Union Man and a great believer that unions have been and still are at the heart of a prosperous America. Proof? All of a sudden athletic departments are all over the news promising to create long term medical benefits for their scholarship athletes, which seems to me one of the most critical goals of the college players unions, and to do right by them. We'll see.
As for paying the athletes, sure. Why not increase their monthly stipend so they don't have to take off campus or on campus jobs? Being a full time student and full time athlete is hard enough without having to worry about money for bus fare home to visit mom. It was tough when I was in college and it's still hard to juggle full time athletic and academic commitment. A few more shekels can't hurt and it won't break the bank.
What about salaries? Nonsense. I'm all for unions, but they should not be used for frivolous demands. Scholarship athletes are not really employees. Even if they could be called employees, their salaries are four year, room and board, scholarships, which amount to' beaucoup' bucks. Tuition, room and board at my Alma mater, Saint Mary's College in California these days is approximately $58,000 dollars per year, about the average for private colleges and universities nationwide. You do the math for four years. State schools are not much less for out-of-state students. $40,000 to $50,000 per years is a pretty good starting salary, the equivalent of starting salaries in the world of business and far better than starting salaries of first year high school teachers.
In my opinion, if the revenues from university football and basketball indeed support all the scholarships and costs of the "so-called" minor sports, then the Big Time Television Embraced sports are doing a great service for a lot of amateur men's and women's athletics. I would, however, if I were the union, demand to see an independent accounting of where all the money goes by college sport. I'd hate to see too much more money spent on ridiculously high salaries for most coaches of big time athletic programs, Duke, Alabama, Kentucky, etc. Until each major university opens up its books there will always be a question marks.
The most important consideration by the union organizers should be how the union can help ALL the men and women playing collegiate sports, not just the elite football and basketball players.
Since I'm advocating for more attention being paid to "minor" college sports, here's a poem about Archery
Archery Instructor by Richard Aldridge
My boys walk down the range intent to find
Lost arrows well beyond the target flown
Tomfoolery forgot, they scuff around
The underbrush, each searching on his own.
To them it's treasure hunting of a kind.
But since it's I who am responsible
For all the archery equipment used,
I wait here hoping hey will find them all.
The boys move dimly in the woods. Bemused,
I slowly let the scene be blurred unreal
And dram that I might well be Cupid here
Whose orders were: 'Bring back my misfired darts!'
Except on second thought I feel more sure
That what I'd mean is 'halves of broken hearts.'
A very foolish fond old man, said Lear.
What my musings are all about...
Blogging might well be the 21st century's form of journaling. As a writing teacher, I have always advised my students to keep a daily journal as a way of organizing their thoughts for future writing projects, a discipline I have unfortunately never consistently practiced myself. By blogging, I might finally be able to follow my own good advice.
The difference between journaling and blogging is that the blogger opens his or her writing to the public, something journal- writers are usually reluctant to do. I am not so reticent.
The trick for me will be to avoid cluttering the internet with more blather, something none of us need more of. If I stick to subjects I know: sports and literature, I believe I can avoid that pitfall. I can't promise that I'll not stray from time to time to comment on ancillary subjects, but I will make every attempt to be interesting and perhaps even insightful.