Collins, Northwestern see positives in unionization debate

Collins, Northwestern see positives in unionization debate
March 26, 2014, 8:45 pm
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Vinnie Duber

Northwestern might disagree with its football players when it comes to whether or not they qualify as employees, but there's one sure thing: The school is proud of their efforts.

This is how the university closed its statement following Wednesday's ruling by the National Labor Relations Board that Northwestern's football players are employees:

"Northwestern is proud of our students for raising these issues. Northwestern teaches its students to be leaders and independent thinkers who will make a positive impact on their communities, the nation and the world. We look forward to working with our students through other appropriate mechanisms to continue to address these issues."

[MORE: Northwestern football players deemed employees by NLRB]

Though he's not the head of the team in question here, Northwestern basketball coach Chris Collins was asked about the decision Wednesday when he joined SportsTalk Live, and his reaction was hardly a negative one.

"I think overall the process is good because at the end of the day, we all as coaches, as educators, we want what's best for the student-athletes," Collins said. "We want the best possible experience. That's what we've tried to provide. I've been at Northwestern for a year. Under what we're legally able to do, our goal is to give the best experience and the most that we can give to our student-athletes to make their experience for their four years great. So I think the process is good. It can bring out some of the things that maybe should be changed. Now whether collective bargaining is the way to go, I'm not sure that's the case. But I think overall the discussion has been good, and we all want what's best for the student-athletes."

While he did use the term "student-athlete," which might soon be a thing of the past if Northwestern's football players continue to succeed, Collins seemed to voice a common-sense opinion that improving the experience for these athletes is the important thing in this debate.