Sports fans react to decision to allow college athletes to unionize

By Catherine Cruz
Published On: Mar 26 2014 08:00:00 PM HST

Ben Jay shares the downside of a major legal ruling enabling college athletes to unionize.

HONOLULU -

The airwaves were electric with the news.

Click here to watch Catherine Cruz' story.

The Sports Animals at ESPN 1420 were all over the story.

"Probably the biggest story today is the Chicago district National Labor Relations Board ruled that Northwestern football players qualify as employees of the university and can now unionize. This is going to be huge," said radio host Chris Hart.

University of Hawaii Athletics Director Ben Jay happened to be next door to the studios,

He was in a marketing meeting while trying to absorb what just happened.

"For those in the athletics world it’s a wake-up call. For many, many people, a lot of athletic directors and university presidents are looking at what the ramifications are," said Jay.

The ruling stands to have the greatest impact on athletes at Northwestern and other big name schools, but everyone is wondering how it will impact everyone else.

"How many universities can afford that? What if you are a university and you can’t afford to pay? Will this ruin college athletics as we speak?” said Hart.

Callers were asking the same thing. Do you pay players at the expense of other college athletics?

"I think it’s really sad. In the Bowl Championship Series, there are only about 10-12 schools that make money. UH couldn't compete if they had to pay their football players", said one caller.

Far-reaching effects could change the rules impacting everything from scholarships, to taxes. to workers comp.

Jay said it’s possible colleges could be forced to decide how to spend their limited resources.

"Our program is not paying for itself now and we will have to make a determination of how far do we stretch those resources and program reduction has to be a part of that discussion. It has to be taken a look at if we are pushed to shove," said Jay.

 

 

 

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