By Ken Reed

This is a big step.

In a couple decades, Kain Colter might be perceived as a civil rights and social justice hero. And rightfully so.

“Right now the NCAA is like a dictatorship,” said Colter while announcing the effort to seek labor union representation. “No one represents us in negotiations. The only way things are going to change is if the players have a union.”

The common perception is that this attempt to unionize is all about money. That’s only part of it, maybe the least important part. The biggest part is about protection, in multiple areas, but especially in the area of injuries. It’s also about protection in academic matters.

“This is about finally giving college athletes a seat at the table,” said Ramogi Huma, a former UCLA linebacker who created the National College Players Association (NCPA) as an advocacy group in 2001. “Athletes deserve an equal voice when it comes to their physical, academic and financial protections.”

Huma is advising Colter and his colleagues, as is the United Steelworkers union. If certified by the National Labor Relations Board, the union will be called the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA).

Three of the best in the sportswriting business, Tom Farrey, Patrick Hruby, and Dave Zirin have excellent pieces on this important development.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans.


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