Dye-Gest: Union For Athletes A Horrible Idea

College Football Hall of Fame coach Pat Dye writes about the Auburn football program and the issue of unionization for college athletes in this edition of his Dye-Gest column.

It was good to see a lot of former players show up this weekend with the coaching staff inviting them back to the Auburn football team's second spring scrimmage. In addition to the former players there were a good number of high school coaches there who had been attending the annual coaching clinic.

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More than 1,000 high school coaches showed up for the clinic and that makes a big statement about the kind of job that Coach Gus Malzahn and his staff are doing in building relationships with those coaches. That is something that will pay tremendous dividends. It was great to see that kind of turnout.

There must have been several hundred former players on campus Saturday. The ones who played in the 1980s and before have been coming back to Auburn regularly and we are seeing more of the players who played for Terry Bowden in the 1990s and after that for Tommy Tuberville also returning. It's good for the program to have those guys around Auburn.

I have been reading some of the articles about what is going on at Northwestern and the attempt to unionize athletes there, something that is mind-boggling to me. There are some things that need to be done for college athletes that aren't being done now and I believe the NCAA is working on some things, but having players as part of a union makes no sense for many reasons.

I would like to see the players get the equivalent of the "laundry money" athletes used to receive as part of their college scholarships several generations ago. It is something that has been talked about for years and it is needed for athletes who come from backgrounds where they struggle to have enough money to buy clothes and other basic necessities, much less have enough money to go out on a date and do other things most college students can do.

If the "laundry money" stipend happens it will be a great thing, but creating a union for college athletes is truly a horrible idea. I can't imagine what it would be like for me as a head coach of a college football team dealing with players in a union.

How could I control whether they go to class or not? How could I make them do the things they are supposed to do discipline-wise away from the football field and classroom?

What a nightmare it would be if you have to discipline a player and the union steps in and convinces your players to boycott practice or a game. What if it happens the week of a big rivalry game when you are getting your team to play somebody like Georgia or Alabama?

It's just a crazy idea and it is so crazy there must be some ulterior motives behind this lawsuit to try to make it such a big deal to come up with some time of cash settlement to make it go away.

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