Recently, the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago ruled that Northwestern University football players could from a union.

The Board based its ruling on the fact that by law, the football players were employees of their school.

Seems like a stretch to me, but who am I to argue with a federal agency.

What I do know is this. College athletes do bring in money for the university. They put in hours of their time to create revenue and do so in a physical manner.

Maybe that is why they are considered employees. So while the university appeals the decision, the question of whether college athletes should be paid has been brought up again.

In a way, they already are. Most athletes are on scholarships, whether they are full or partial ones.

They don’t have to pay for their education, which is one of the two reasons they are in school.

It has been argued that because they receive scholarships, they are being compensated already.

However, because of NCAA rules, athletes are not allowed to have any other income coming in. They can’t be paid for any other servies they may provied – such as an autograph signing or a personal appearance.

That should be OK. If an athlete takes time out of his schedule to make an appearance, no matter where or why it is, they should receive something.

College athletes should be acknowledged for what they do – sometimes putting their bodies on the line for a chance to play professionally or just the enjoyment of the game they are playing.

Do they deserve a weekly paycheck? No. Do they deserve to be able to form a union? No.

And forming a union could hurt college athletics as a whole. Consider a strike by players; or a lockout by athletic departments.

The current system of not paying ahletes has been around for years and has not hurt the games that are played.

Yes, college athletes bring in millions of dollars for their schools, coming from television broadcasts to memorabilia sales. And no, the athletes don’t see any money from those things.

Perhaps athletes should receive some kind of a stipend, especially for medical issues. Which brings up a whole other topic.

If an athlete gets hurt and his college career is over, they should be allowed to keep his scholarship. They should have all of their medical expenses covered.

Athletes should receive something. They get an education, sometimes free based on their scholarships. Maybe a percentage of the television revenue? Maybe a portion of the funds from a fundraiser they attend? Maybe some kind of compensation from memorabilia sales – especially jerseys that bear their name.

But a weekly or monthly paycheck for their “services?” No. They don’t fall into the same category as a professor, an administrator or even a maintenance worker at the school they represent.

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