In many ways, I cannot blame college players (specifically football) wanting a bigger piece of the pie. They saw conference realignment rake in multi-billion dollar contracts at the back of their efforts on the field/court. Then they see the merchandise sales w/ their names on the backs of these jerseys and on posters. And what do college players get out of this deal, a monthly stipend of X amount of dollars to go for food and other things to spend money on on top of their scholarships. Hell, if I was a college player, I’d want a piece of that billion dollar pie as well.
Perhaps I’ll be talking out of my backside here; however, I expect to see some massive changes in scholarship distribution, redshirts, over-signing/grayshirts, and other changes if players able to unionize and become employees of their respective colleges.
Lets face it, colleges will not go down without a fight, and if they lose, they will eliminate the amount of scholarships they distribute on a yearly basis. College football will take the largest hit. Currently at 85, I could certainly see that number drop to 70, perhaps lower. Why would a college pay players that are going to likely sit on the bench for their four years at a college.
The days of redshirting players would likely come to an end. Why would any college pay a player to be there for 5 years when there is 4 years of eligibility. Perhaps there would be some kind of compromise when it comes to redshirting, but I’d bet money that a player would want to be played his redshirt year. Combine the salary issue with the lower amount of scholarships and there may not be a reason to redshirt players anyways due to depth reasons.
Over-signing/grayshirts will also come to an end due to the reasons above. Not to mention, signing a Letter of Intent will mean that a player will be obligated to be at a college for 3-4 years and a school won’t be able to boot a player off the team without just cause, it’ll make it harder for schools to sign too many players.
One other factor that may pop up is that colleges may end up forcing athletes to stay in school for four years. Think about it, if colleges aren’t able to pull a scholarship due to injuries, they respond in this fashion. A binding four year contract is a four year contract, right… right.
Perhaps I’m over-analyzing and speaking in hyperbole’s, but there I know one thing for sure, if you don’t think colleges don’t have something up their sleeves as well, then you’re fooling yourself.