Former Iowa State running back Jeff Woody shares his thoughts on the positives and negatives of having a player’s union in college athletics, along with answering frequently asked questions or myths that he’s seen spread around on the topic.
Oct 26, 2013; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones fullback Jeff Woody (32) runs for a first down against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Jack Trice Stadium. The Cowboys beat the Cyclones 58-27. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
Woody posted the write-up on his personal blog, Jeff’s Thoughts, on Wednesday. I’d highly recommend reading the entire post. Woody did an extraordinary job explaining everything in detail, diving into medical issues, former players wanting to continue their education, and clearing up what a full ride entails. He gives examples to help clarify some issues, and had a solid balance of both good and bad effects a player’s union would have.
I thought Woody’s post was very educational. A common theme in his post was the players needing a voice, and it’s hard to argue with all of his bullet points. A lot of football players will likely have to fix health problems down the road that was caused by playing football.
Players being able to make a profit on their own likeness is completely understandable. Woody reminds us that these players don’t get any of the revenue of jersey sales despite people buying it for them.
"On the open market, getting a chunk of retailer’s money or gaining advertising dollars for popularity would be not only acceptable, but the most American thing that you could do. By not allowing this, all of the money people paid for Jeremiah George jerseys this year, excuse me “anonymous jersey #52 for Iowa State,” went to the pockets of the makers of the shirt, not to the person that people are actually buying it for."
Woody also brings up an interesting point on having to pay for additional schooling while helping reel in a lot of money.
"With as much money as we (the worker bees in the hive of college athletics) bring into the university, the $10k it’s going to cost to finish my master’s degree should be a drop in the bucket. (If my math serves me right, that’s roughly 2 days of Coach Rhoads’ $2 million/year salary, but he can’t give any of that up since it’d be a violation)"
While completely understanding where Woody is coming from, I don’t believe that continuing education should be paid for by the school. Woody is responsible for bringing it a very small portion of that. As he brings up earlier in his post, people would still come to the games anyway. If there was the ability for players to make money themselves, then this also wouldn’t be as big of an issue.
Having a player’s union wouldn’t be perfect, and Woody’s biggest points are the potential of a money drive pushing out all of the non-revenue generating sports and possible clashes with seniors and freshman battling for important positions on a team. Both are very good points.
Woody’s bottom line is that change needs to happen and just having the NCAA oversee its student-athletes creates too many issues for players.
Again, Woody’s post is a must-read and it’s fantastic to see a former player break things down to make it all easy to understand for the public.