In 2012, Ohio State University's football program profited over $100 million. It's no wonder student athletes are feeling like their universities are using their talent to make big chunks of money, says Brad Bannon, democratic political consultant in Washington, D.C. with Bannon Communications Research. "These college athletes feel they're being exploited," he says.
The football players at Northwestern University decided they had enough and would form a union to leverage some bargaining power over the university to be treated better, Bannon says. If an injury keeps an athlete out for an extended period of time, it's quite possible the school will yank their scholarship, so the athlete is stuck in a situation of trying to pay for college on their own.
The purpose of the union, Bannon says, is to give athletes more protection and also give them leverage to bargain with the athletic department. The NCAA is "vehemently opposed" to paying players but players feel they deserve to be paid something, he adds. A lot of athletes don't get degrees while they're playing their sport because the schedule related to the sport they play is so rigorous.
Bannon thinks there's going to be a day when college athletes will be paid because the reality is, there's so much money flowing in from the tv industry, with all of the various sports channels. "Something's going to give and the athletes will be compensated in some way more than they are now," Bannon says.
Teams routinely red shirt players so they can stay and play on the team an extra year, so there's lots of loop holes, Bannon points out. He can see the NCAA guaranteeing athletic scholarships regardless of injury or if they don't get their degree in four years.
Brad Bannon is President of Bannon Communications Research, a Washington, D.C.-based political polling and consulting firm. More information can be found at www.bannoncr.com. This video commentary was hosted by The Legal Broadcast Network, which provides on-demand legal content. The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group.