A group of faculty from across the United States has formed an organization called College Athletes Rights and Empowerment Faculty Coalition (CARE-FC).
The group has released a statement. Here are the introductory paragraphs:
“The multibillion-dollar college-sport industry is built on the work of an unnamed and unrecognized labor force, the majority of who are racial minorities (Smith, 2014; Staurowsky, 2013). As scholars who have studied these issues for many years, we are deeply troubled by the failure of higher education and college sport officials to acknowledge college football and men’s basketball players in major programs as employees with rights to bargain collectively. We are further concerned that in recent months state legislators in Ohio and Michigan have singled out college athletes as a class of citizens to be denied employee status (Associated Press, 2014; Heinlein, 2014).
“For decades, the athletes who serve as the centerpiece of the college sport business have been denied access to fair compensation (Jenkins v. NCAA, 2014; Johnson v. NCAA, 2014; Marshall v. ESPN et al., 2014; O’Bannon v. NCAA, 2014; Rock v. NCAA, 2013; Sackos v. NCAA, 2014), adequate health care protections (Arrington v. NCAA, 2011; Doughty v. NCAA, 2013; Owens v. NCAA, 2011; Sheely v. NCAA, 2013), due process (Oliver v. NCAA, 2009) and avenues to shape, contest, and respond to the rules imposed on them (College Athlete Players Association v. Northwestern, 2014). Because these players have limited rights to bargain their conditions of employment (as of this writing, Northwestern football players have this right) or to shape their educational opportunities, they must resort to lawsuits and appeals to the court of public opinion to have their grievances addressed. The issues college players are currently raising through multiple lawsuits, regardless of legal theory, stem from the denial of basic civil rights within a system designed to regulate and control the players themselves, their movement within the college sport marketplace, and their value as commodities (Belzer & Schwarz, 2012; Branch, 2011; Hawkins, 2010a, 2010b; Paule & Flett, 2011; Southall & Staurowsky, 2013; Southall & Weiler, 2014; Staurowsky, in press, 2014a, 2014b). College football players and men’s basketball players, as human beings, are too often subjected to treatment that strips them of opportunities for their own self-determination and personal development.”
The sections of the body of the report are titled “The Myth of the “Student-Athlete and Its Implications for College Athlete Employees,” “Disparate Impact on Racial Minorities,” and “Scope and Impact of College Football and Men’s Basketball Exploitation.”
The entire statement can be found at: http://care-fc.org/care-fc-statement/