I am a firm believer that the NCAA and Universities treat athletes like employees. The key test under labor law in to determining if someone is an employee or not is do you have a right of control over them. For college athletes, let's count the ways that is true.
- You can't transfer to a new school without having to sit out.
- Your scholarship can be pulled at any time.
- You aren't allowed to work a job in season.
- You can't profit off of your image or likeness.
- Your class schedule revolves around when you need to be able to practice and if this prevents you from having the major you want, well that's too bad.
I could go on with about 20 other reasons, but you get the point. Many athletes do receive scholarships, but even those are essentially a salary cap on what they can earn when there is no such restriction on coaches or others who profit off them. If you haven't read what Jay Bilas has to say on all of this, you should look it up because he lays out quite well how college sports are a cartel and anti capitalism.
The good news is that athletes are beginning to push back. There have been numerous lawsuits about compensation, some of which have resolved favorably for players, some of which are pending. Those have been class action cases. The biggest recent developments have been with individual rights of players.
A Chicago law firm won $250,000.00 for a former U of I football player who alleged that the ex coach forced him to play while he was suffering from knee and shoulder injuries. You can imagine what these young men are thinking when their manhood is being questioned by someone who is supposed to be a role model and also has the ability to take away their scholarship.
This isn't an isolated case. Athletes around the country are pushing back at coaches that act like bullies or do things that will injure them. This isn't coaches pushing them to be their best. It's coaches who are thinking about wins and losses only, not the health of the players.
There is still a ways to go of course. In the recent NCAA baseball tournament there were a few schools who pitched their best pitchers 3+ times in a week, with many of them exceeding inning and pitch counts that major league players would never approach. This of course is great for the school in the short term, but terrible for the long term health and pro prospects of the player.
So the good news is that athletes are sticking up for themselves. The bad news is that there is a ways to go. If you are an athlete who is having health problems due to a coach, let us know and we'll connect you with a law firm that has experience winning these cases.