Local News

SEANC decision brings unionizing college athletes debate to NC

Posted May 20, 2014

— A recent decision by the State Employees Association of North Carolina to open its membership to athletes at the University of North Carolina system's 16 college campuses, including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University, has brought the debate whether to unionize student athletes to North Carolina.

The nationwide discussion intensified in March when a National Labor Relations Board regional director ruled that Northwestern University football players qualify as university employees, and thus, can unionize.

Some believe the concept could change college sports, but Joe Ovies, co-host of the afternoon and evening shows on 99.9 FM The Fan, believe otherwise.

"To say money would change the game because players get a piece of that, that makes no sense to me," Ovies said.

Adam Gold, who co-hosts the shows with Ovies, thinks it could ruin college sports. Players could be fired and schools would have to pay taxes, he said.

"That would change the structure of everything and frankly, it wouldn't be good for anybody involved," he said.

The best thing about the debate is that it's happening, said Gold, who added that the discussion is drawing attention to how student athletes are treated.

That in itself may give them a stronger voice, he said.

"I don't think there is any chance you will see college players unionize," Gold said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Edward Levy May 21, 2014
    user avatar

    How about all of these athletes who drop out of college to go in to the pros, pay back the scholarship money

  • Steven Arbogast May 21, 2014
    user avatar

    If they "uinonize" and become employees they won't be on a free ride any longer. As employees all aspects of compensation become taxable, including the value of the "scholarship". Additionally, like other professional athletes, they will be subject to taxation in every state in which they play a game. Be careful what you wish for.... you just might get it.

  • Forthe Newssite May 21, 2014
    user avatar

    IF they are allowed to unionize then they should be MADE to pay taxes on the cost of their education, books, room/board......Seems they want things both ways.....

  • wayneboyd May 21, 2014

    Sign 'em up, and in a couple of years Carolina will be playing ball like GM builds cars.

  • early exit Roy May 21, 2014

    Let them organize. See how many club members and supporters will back them. Let's see, they get about a 80K education, free meals, free nike clothing, shoes etc., and some schools close by don't make you go to class, then gives them A's for not showing up and a diploma. What more do they want?

  • ncouterbanks69 May 21, 2014


    View quoted thread

    But make sure to grab that ebt card so you can buy some booze with it.

  • Alan Osborne May 21, 2014
    user avatar

    You do realize the SEANC is not a "REAL" union right? They are nothing but a group of people that pay dues and then have a HUUUGGEE Christmas party and get drunk! I am a state employee and they can do nothing for state workers other than talk "BIG" and make lame threats. So go ahead university athletes join the SEANC,you will be wasting your money!! Better yet give me your money and I will arrange for a nice quiet Christmas dinner aaaand a movie. lolol

  • XLAW May 21, 2014

    If the scholarship athletes are "employees" then they should expect to receive W-2s every January for the amount of their scholarships, room, board and medical care. They should expect to pay federal and state taxes on the total in addition to their contributions to Social Security, Medicare and the ACA. For some of them it might be a useful introduction to the world of finance - since I just read that more than half of all professional athletes are bankrupt within 2 years of retirement.

  • mike275132 May 21, 2014

    Get rid of college sports, In the past it was a way for STUDENTS to EARN college degrees who couldn't afford tuition.

    Let college age Pro athletes go into training farm leagues like Pro baseball etc. does.

    No need for State taxpayers to fund Pro athlete training at State colleges.

  • Barbara Sheppard May 21, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Students should be there for an education. However, athletes are there as a way to make it to the pros. And athletics bring in too much money for colleges to drop them. But I agree with you. The main purpose of colleges & universities should be education, not money.