Tag Archives: IU

Can college athletes form a union?

Listen to Ray’s interview with Kenneth Dau-Schmidt, Professor of Labor and Employment Law at IU’s Maurer School of Law:

Great talk with the William and Margaret Carr Professor of Labor and Employment Law at the Maurer School of Law at Indiana University (deep breath!).  Frankly, he doesn’t know exactly what is going to happen, because there isn’t much case law for anyone to use as a precedent.

An expert on labor law says because of a lack of precedent, there’s no way to know whether federal regulators will allow college athletes to organize a union.

The National Labor Relations Board is holding hearings on whether the National College Players Association can organize.  The effort is being backed by the United Steelworkers and is led by former Northwestern University quarterback Kain Colter.  While union representation ostensibly would establish an employer-employee relationship between athletes and colleges, Colter’s criticism has mostly been aimed at the NCAA, which he referred to as “a dictatorship.”

Whether college athletes could be considered employees is a primary question.  Teaching assistants and residential assistants are not employees, with courts ruling that those jobs are part of the education experience.  “It’s not clear, however, that being a student athlete is part of your educational program in the same way,” said Kenneth Dau-Schmidt, Professor of Labor and Employment Law at I-U’s Maurer School of Law.

Athletes who are recruited to play sports believe they should be considered employees because they receive scholarship money, and they have to adhere to strict schedules, unlike most ordinary students.  “We don’t have a lot of case law.  They are permitted to work.  They are directed, and they do receive some kind of compensation for it.  So under a very broad definition of employee, they might be employees, but that isn’t how we traditionally think about them,” Dau-Schmidt said.

There also could be different rules for private universities like Northwestern and public schools like IU and Purdue. Private schools, Dau-Schmidt said, would be governed by federal labor law.  State-supported universities would be governed by state law, and in Indiana, most public employees are not allowed to collectively bargain.  “They would be back under the old common law, which was if they bargained with an agency that had authority to set their terms and conditions of employment, then that contract would be enforceable, even though collective bargaining wasn’t authorized.”


Bobby “Slick” Leonard: Boom Baby, and Dear HOF, are you serious?

My chat with Bobby “Slick” Leonard on his life, and his new book Boom Baby:

The first time I spoke to Indiana Pacers play-by-play man Mark Boyle was last year when we discussed Reggie Miller’s and Mel Daniels election to the Basketball Hall Of Fame last year.  When I asked Mark who else from the Pacers deserved entry into the Hall, Mark gave me a five minute dissertation – I suspect he would’ve gone 50 if we had the time – on his broadcast partner, Bobby Leonard.

Having moved to Indy recently at the time of that interview, I knew more about Leonard Part 6 than Bobby Leonard.  After further review, Mr. Boyle is right – it is a (sports cliche warning!) crime that Bobby Leonard is not in the Naismath,

Mr. Leonard professes to not care, and I believe him.  But that doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t.  Since the Hall’s voting process is about as closed as (insert euphemism for tightness), we can only assume the worst – that there continues to be pervasive anti-ABA sentiment on the part of the mystery voters.   Why else would a man who won three ABA titles and took two other teams to the finals not be in the Hall?

“The ABA wasn’t as good as the NBA.”  Sure it wasn’t.  Though smaller, the quality of basketball may have been better top-to-bottom than the NBA during the ABA’s later years.

Also, Naismath Hall induction is supposed to incorporate it’s members’ entire basketball lives.  Leonard may have only been good and not great as an NBA player, averaging 10 points a game over seven seasons, but he won a national title at IU, was a third-team All-American as a junior and a second-team AA’er as a senior.  I won’t bother going through the list of HOF’ers with chintzier resumes.

Mr. Leonard is a delight, and if nothing else, we dredge up the old word that used to be used when you were pursuing your mate – courtship.  Going courtin’ probably means something completely different now.   Oh, something else we dredge up…this…Heller jingle, baby!  You’re welcome Buster Bodine and Cris Conner.

Derek Drouin, Canada’s greatest athlete since Iron Mike Sharpe

The IU high jumper is going for his fifth national title this week at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, to go along with his Olympic bronze medal from last year’s London games. One of the best athletes in IU history, and just a good, all around dude.

Oh, and Iron Mike Sharpe? Well, here you go..ARRRRRRRRRRRRGHHHHHH!