Elegy For the Dying College Athlete Employee: NLRB General Counsel, Dashing Out the Door, Gets Valiant

NLRB General Counsel Griffin has obviously been stewing. A year ago, the NLRB had decided they just wanted to keep drinking PBR’s in their banquette out back, up ’til closing time. There wasn’t, they decreed, any reason to do anything at all different. What, after all, their decision on the Northwestern union-cert campaign pronounced, is at all wrong with, well . . . just keeping things the way they are?

Griffin knew, when they did it, how cowardly were those NLRB members. Maybe, even (and we will never know), he might’ve cornered one or two of them, sprinting to catch the Metro: “How,” he might’ve challenged them, “How, ‘could you walk away from this, the way you have?’

But they are hurried. There are other things in their lives. Kids, soccer out in Fairfax County. A great outdoor concert somewhere close by, in all the steam. It’s easy and, really, how important could any of this all, possibly, be?

So General Counsel Griffin decides. It’s late one night, and he knows that he has some slight heft, what he puts out on press release will get a broad read.  A broad read. So he gives it a rip.

Griffin, the flaks then say, says that college athletes are employees. They are so oppressively controlled, Griffins says, that they must be employees of those private colleges.

Griffin is right. But he’s wrong. The arc of governance is now working hard and fast against him, and Griffin will soon be a footnote. He will, a couple years later, maybe have some fellow find him, maybe a law school classmate, out in the left field bleachers at Nationals Park on a steamy DC evening out, or maybe at Wolf Trap — and the guy will pop him, because it’s been a while: what, the fellow with two blue cups in his hands will wonder — what  happened with all the NLRB stuff, and the college player employees?

It might be 2018. Maybe ’19. But the NLRB is no close relative, any longer, of what Griffin knew in early 2017.  There’s a whole new regime, they blew it all up. It was worse than Taft-Hartley in 1948. Mostly, it’s all gone, really. These NLRB guys now, they’re all scared, hedgehogs, running from burrow to burrow, and unions, basically, are dead.

“Employees?” Griffin responds. “Employees? Nah. Not really” It was, he mutters to himself, “it was all,”  thinking of Joni Mitchell –“it was all just a dream some of us had.”

Copyright William Wilson 2017



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What the Puck

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Nike Internships for Jourdan Lewis (Mich), Curtis Samuel (OSU), & D’Onta Foreman (Tx)?


Nike’s 2016 contract with Michigan provides for three summer “Student Internships,” described as follows:

Each contract year, Nike will offer summer internships at NIKE”s world in Oregon, to three Michigan students at a minimum cost to NIKE of $15,000 per intern. Nike shall select the interns in consultation with, and from a pool of qualified candidates provided by, Michigan and/or the Athletic Departments.”

Earlier this year, Nike funded a different kind of venture, with ostensible educational purpose, for some athletic directors. Virginia Tech athletic director Win Babcock went on a Nike-funded junket to Vietnam which allowed him, Babcock said, to “venture out of his comfort zone. It was a great trip,” Babcock said,

“and I feel like when you get outside your comfort zone, you can grow. So I think it made me a better athletic director.”

For 38 Years, Nike has been paying-off coaches and athletic directors, not because they do the promotion, but because they negotiate with Nike, or have the power to command that Players wear Nike product.

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LEAD1, Fat-Cat AD’s, Tom McMillen, & the Recruit’s #1 Question

mcmillenLEAD1, the new trade association of Division I college athletics directors, has just announced that it is in the process of forming a Political Action Committee. PAC’s are formed to pool money, to lobby and otherwise influence congress and legislators.

Leaving aside the suspicion that this PAC will just be a stalking horse for the NCAA, questions nonetheless arise about this PAC, and even the LEAD1 trade group itself. Trade group? Really? What is the trade exactly?  I thought athletic directors were, as Penn State’s Sandy  Barbour pompously observed at the Fall 2016 Knight Commission meeting, “really, after all, just educators.”

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Why Minnesota Former Coach Claeys & AD Coyle Have Title IX Culpability: Recruiting Rules Have Changed


Hidden behind the uproar about the Minnesota football protest, and the alleged September 2 player sexual assaults, are the Title IX culpability of Minnesota head coach Claeys, AD Coyle, and university administration in failing to establish state-of-the-art university recruiting policies and practices which would have prevented the alleged assaults. Based upon the university’s leaked Title IX report, it appears that the school failed to exercise the higher degree of care which they owed to the minor recruit allegedly involved, who was on campus for an official visit that weekend.


“What you see at a bachelor or bachelorette party is what happens on a recruiting visit,”  former Michigan star Jalen Rose, recruited in the late 1980’s by UNLV, MSU, Michigan and Syracuse, said last year. “And as a 17-year-old kid, if I’m not getting laid, I’m not coming. I’m not signing. Number one, I’m out of the ‘hood, so I’m safe,” Rose said. “Number two, I have access to unlimited funds, because I’m a high school kid who’s not paying for dinners, who’s not paying for anything. And it’s almost like my birthday, because their number one job is to show me a magnificent time — as a matter of fact, the time of my life.” Continue reading

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What Wakey-Leaks Should Make Every AD Do


Every AD needs to demand media NDAs. Today’s startling news from Wake Forest should make every major college athletic director sit up and take notice. Former 2014 assistant (to then-head coach Jim Grobe) Tommy Elrod, in his new position as radio announcer covering Wake games, apparently engaged in a pattern of leaking game plans, over a period of years, to Wake opponents. It all first surfaced during last month’s Wake game against Louisville.

Elrod’s appalling behavior exposes a weakness in an ‘unwritten rule’ within the industry, which is that home reporters understand that any pre-game information which they obtain is confidential and cannot be disclosed to anyone. Continue reading

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Cut Ties With Nike, Say Georgetown Students Who Just Occupied Pres DeGioia’s Office



In light of sweatshop labor violations defined at the Nike Hansae factory last April, a group  of Georgetown students this morning occupied the school president DeGioia’s office, pressing to have the university cut its ties with Nike. The school’s current contract runs out December 31, 2016. ( Former basketball coach John Thompson Jr. is a member of Nike’s Board of Directors and, according to some reports, current Georgetown basketball head coach John Thompson III has his own direct contract with Nike, apart from his employment contract with Georgetown.)

Nike has refused to agree to  follow the university’ Code of Conduct, even though all other Georgetown licensees have agreed to be bound by it.

The Workers’ Rights Consortium released a new November 2016 report on labor violations at the Hansae apparel factory in Vietnam which employs 8,500 workers. Among the abuses found were: forced overtime, under the guise of ‘voluntary’ work; factory floor temperatures above 90 degrees, in the cool season; workers’ fainting from exhaustion and overheating; degrading restrictions on toilet and bathroom access, including managers photographing employees as they leave and enter.

No public statement has yet been issued by Georgetown President DeGioia. A student rally is scheduled for noon today.


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Daughter Fiona (works for Clinton Fdtn in Capetown, S.A.), with boyfriend Dylan, and Bill Clinton yesterday


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College Lineman Beefing Up May Increase Risk for Hypertension and Heart Problems


According to a recently reported Mass General/Harvard Medical School study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology,  they assessed 87 college freshman football  players, who played between 2008 and 2014, before they started their freshman year. Thirty were linemen;  57 played other positions. All of the players were part of the Harvard Athlete Initiative, an ongoing research project which tracks athletes’ health.

57 percent of the linemen and 51 percent of non-linemen had pre-hypertension upon examination before their freshman year. (Pre-hypertension is a blood pressure reading greater than a normal reading of 120/80.) After their first season, 90 percent of the linemen showed pre-hypertension, while only 49 percent of non-linemen had a blood pressure reading above normal. Continue reading

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KState’s Rich Elder Eunuch Statesman Bill Snyder & the Broken State of College Football



I’m going to criticize Mother Teresa, your elementary-school’s special ed teacher, and the paraplegic Iraqi war vet — all at once — by taking on iconic Kansas State coach Bill Snyder. Continue reading

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