Over the past month, current members and alums of the Northwestern University football team have fought for their right to unionize as employees of the university. As of now, the vote for whether the Wildcats can unionize will be determined on April 25.
These college football players from Evanston, Illinois, demonstrate how harsh college sports have become for the players. From the statistics released in accordance with the life of a typical Northwestern scholarship football player, we can see that these players are meant to engage in practice 50 to 60 hours per week over the summer and 40 to 50 hours during the regular season, both of which exceed the NCAA limit by more than 20 hours. The season can extend based on their performance leading to bowl games, and even offseason requires players to devote 15 to 20 hours per week on football activities.
Although only a small percentage of the students at Seattle University are college athletes, it is imperative for us to remember that we all, primarily, are students. The Wildcats do not appear to understand this fact, at least in terms of their football program. As evidenced by Northwestern’s view of their football players, the players are working toward gaining the university money; hence, they should devote the majority of their time on raising revenue rather than benefiting their education.
At Seattle U, student athletes are given more leniencies in terms of not being allowed to skip class for practice and taking required days off. While these factors are shown to benefit the student athletes to be what they are primarily—students—it is imperative for our own Student Athletics department to understand just how imperative the rules are to be followed. If NCAA rules were disavowed like the Northwestern football program, we could see student athlete unions rising throughout the country.