What Union Ruling Means For Oklahoma Student-Athletes

Thursday, March 27th 2014, 6:02 pm
By: News 9

The ruling to allow Northwestern University football players to form a union has fans in Oklahoma wondering what the decision means for their favorite college team. The fight to break up the union at the suburban Chicago campus is already in full force.

Currently, the push to unionize is focused on private universities. That's because the National Labor Relations Board, which ruled on the recent union proposal, does not oversee public universities like the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University.

"It's unfortunate that it has gotten to this point because the NCAA could have gotten out in front of this, and they chose not to," said former OSU football star, Sam Mayes.

Mayes currently hosts "Mid-Morning Mayes" on 107.7 FM, The Franchise.

The need for student-athletes to have an advocate or voice on campus and the desire for fair compensation are just two issues important to union supporters.

3/26/2014 Related Story: Union Ruling Could Drastically Alter Landscape Of College Athletics

Unionizing college football is uncharted territory. No one really knows what a union will mean for college football players. Questions are being raised about scholarships becoming taxable income and union dues.

"I hope these kids understand what they're talking about here and what they're getting themselves into," Mayes said.

As for the students' desires for change, Mayes doesn't fault them.

"I hope with this ruling that they can sit down and tell us, what's the problem? What do you want? What are your … demands," asked Mayes.

Even though the union chatter is just now heating up, don't think OU and OSU will be immune forever. Mayes says people should not be surprised if football players in Oklahoma start having locker room conversations about the possibility of forming unions.

OU and OSU declined to give comment for this story. Northwestern University officials are fighting the decision to allow the union on an appeal. The Northwestern players' legal battle is being funded by the United Steelworkers Union, according to CBS.

For more coverage on this story go to News9.com/sports.