From the Cheap Seats: What If College Athletes Get Organized?


There is a shock-wave rumbling through college football right now. The long-term impact may devastate the NCAA and its athletic directors. What if college athletes get organized?


Who Holds The Power

The NCAA holds all the power. There is no college union or organization of college athletes. All the money generated by college football goes directly to the schools, conferences, and NCAA. While courts have said that athletes can profit from their likeness, there is no organization to implement this change. That may all be changing.

COVID-19 and the threat of losing the college season have rocked college athletes, especially football players. The Power 5 conferences are meeting to discuss canceling all fall sports, including football, and players are uniting.

The ramifications are potentially massive. College football is a $4 billion dollar business. This is an extensive business. In 40 states, the highest-paid state employee is a college head coach. In several states, over one head coach tops the list in the state. Many university athletic directors and conference directors make millions of dollars each season, while the workforce receives no monetary compensation. Many have full-ride scholarships, but many do not.

Dream Business

Imagine running a business for decades and experiencing wild success. Continue imagining that you don’t have to pay your massive workforce. As a matter of fact, some of that workforce will even pay for the right to generate billions of dollars for your business. You don’t even have to take care of workforce injuries if they are lifetime injuries. You can discard the injured employee and plug in a new one. This has been college football.

COVID-19 has threatened the college season. 10 out of 12 Big Ten athletic directors have voted to cancel the season, and the MAC has officially canceled the 2020 season. The athletes who have given so much for the love of the game or a shot at a pro career are finally getting organized.


The two college football player movements, #WeAreUnited and #WeWantToPlay, have united and the ramifications may be monumental. This season is not the only thing impacted by cancellation. The athletes could get organized and unionize the healthcare of future athletes, their ability to earn a percentage of that $4 billion and their control over their own likeness may radically change.

Players have so much to lose if they cancel a season. Imagine if you were debating whether to become eligible for the NFL Draft this season, but you stay and play one more year for your school. Now imagine that after the draft, your school cancels the season, and the NFL has a season. Players could play college ball the next season, but those losing out on football this season lost on getting paid NEXT season. That’s two years of NFL salary lost.

If a player that was going to finally get that starting college roster spot this season and now your season is stripped away, think of the impact. It may not just be a one-season delay because now there is a new batch of competition aiming for your roster spot. The season cancellation impacts your chance to perform for NFL scouts. This decision may impact career opportunities and someone’s entire life.

What would happen if college athletes united and organized?  We may find out right now and it’s about time. At least that is how it looks From the Cheap Seats.