Aug. 18 News: Reaction to Denied Northwestern Union Bid

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The Northwestern union efforts launched in the spring of 2014 reached an impasse Monday when the National Labor Relations Board’s dismissed NU’s petition.

The key statement from the NLRB’s decision explains its interpretation of the player-university relationship:

Even if scholarship players were regarded as analogous to players for professional sports teams who are considered employees for purposes of collective bargaining, such bargaining has never involved a bargaining unit consisting of a single team’s players.

But what exactly does this decision mean? Michael McCann’s breakdown for Sports Illustrated explores in-depth.

Plenty of erroneous headlines declare the Northwestern union’s dismissed petition a grievous blow to defining student-athletes as employees. While private schools face a stiffer challenge as a result of Monday’s ruling, the NLRB did not touch public schools because of the nuances state laws present.

Moreover, as Doug Lesmerises details in his analysis for Cleveland.com, the Northwestern union push was hardly in vain.

“A lot of the things that we’ve been fighting for have been adopted,” former Wildcats quarterback Kain Colter said in reference to unlimited meals, full cost-of-attendance stipends and other recent concessions.

“The life of a college student-athlete on scholarship has never been better,” Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez said at last month’s Pac-12 media days.

Two of Rodriguez’s former players, linebacker Jake Fischer and kicker Jake Smith, were figureheads in the student-athlete compensation movement before the Northwestern union effort. Fischer and Smith were the first active college players to join the Ed O’Bannon antitrust lawsuit.

Monday’s NLRB decision aside, reform is happening in college football right now. These are major reforms, too, and not at a glacial pace.

Helmet Cams Could Bring New Perspective to College Football

Lya Wodraska, The Salt Lake Tribune

College football programs’ ongoing efforts to integrate technology into their preparation could give way to helmet cams. Lya Wodraska reports the technology could debut as early as next year.

For a sneak preview of what you might be able to expect from this technology, here’s former Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas donning “Schutt Vision” in the Arena Football League last year.

The helmet cam provides a unique and illuminating perspective for fans, but as Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham told Wodraska, the technology’s possibilities mean so much more to coaches:

“It’s an interesting concept,” said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, whose teams have experimented with using helmet cameras in noncontact drills. “You’re always looking for anything that will give you an advantage and it could help to watch the quarterback’s progressions and focus on particular plays. But I’d have to see the footage to determine how much value it would have as a teaching tool.”

Technological advancements are improving not just the game’s entertainment value, nor simply giving coaches new strategic advantages. Technology is also being implemented to improve health issues.

Do-everything USC cornerback and wide receiver Adoree’ Jackson is splitting time between offense and defense in Trojan practices. To monitor his participation and cut down on exertion, head coach Steve Sarkisian said at Pac-12 media days Jackson would use the Catapult GPS tracking system.

Jackson was donning the device, which looks like a small vest, at Saturday’s practice. Under a Southern California beating down around 100 degrees, the need for close monitoring intensifies.

Jackson said he ran close to six miles over the course of practice.

New Uniforms

A new batch of uniform updates were unveiled Monday, including those for The Team Without A Name, the University of North Dakota.

Southern Miss hopes its improved look will fit an improved product on the field. The Golden Eagles have endured some lean seasons since finishing 2011 ranked in the Top 25.

Whether Todd Monken can lead USM to a breakthrough remains to be seen, but Southern Miss will at least look sharp in its new Russell gear.

The best of Monday’s new reveals is definitely Georgetown’s. The football Hoyas are adopting a look reminiscent of the mid-1990s Georgetown basketball teams featuring Allen Iverson and Victor Page.