Northwestern Athletes Unionization.  He addresses it about ten and a half minutes in...."/> Northwestern Athletes Unionization.  He addresses it about ten and a half minutes in...."/>

Mike Leach’s Ideas for Unionization Could Kill College Football as We Know It


Nov 29, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars head coach Mike Leach speaks with an official about a call in favor of the Washington Huskies during the first quarter at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday CML responded to the Northwestern Athletes Unionization.  He addresses it about ten and a half minutes in.

Go ahead, we’ll wait for you to listen, I’m not going anywhere….

So what’d you think?  If you are unable to view the post, Leach kind of thinks that this sort of thing might be beneficial to his style of program.  Universal equity throughout D1, and professionalism within those programs.  He hypothetically brought up a college football draft, equity in payment and equality similar to the NFL,  with a salary cap.

I, for one, believe that CML was being ironic and antagonistic, or at least, I hope that he was.  The idea of drafting kids is laughable, largely due to the regional nature of CFB.  The NFL draft is a crapshoot, imagine what we would see if high school kids were subjected to the same qualification and quantification college players are today.  More importantly, what if Drew Bledsoe (Walla Walla, WA) had been drafted by Michigan (or for that matter, if Ryan Leaf was drafted by Miami.  Regional recruiting is part of NCAA football.

On the other hand, it can be difficult to recruit kids to Pullman.  Shakers (or whatever the hell the dance club on College Hill is incarnated today) can not possibly match whatever Seattle, LA, or Miami is recruiting kids with.  We could eliminate the entire recruiting battle problem with a draft.  Yes, Pullman would end up with 25 better players than a fair recruiting battle and parody could actually exist, but we would end up with a more minor league for  the NFL, moreso.

If Leach’s implied proposal was implemented, we might as well establish a non-college semi-pro system that completely abandons any academic pretense.  The XFL made their mistake when they attempted to make hay  with washed out and cut NFL players.  Had the XFL just attempted to pepper their roster with the top college players (Carson Palmer, Byron Leftwich, David Carr, et al) paying them just the value of their college educations, they may have succeeded.  Now 14 years later Leach is effectively saying the same thing:  Pay them, draft them, parity.

This would kill college football, the NFL would be livid as their farm system would be eliminated, and the myriad of college athletes with no professional possibility or aspiration would be eliminated.

The main problem facing a farm system is loyalty.  Would a Tuscaloosa semi-pro team be as popular there if the fanbase never played for said team?  Would you, while in school in Pullman, attend a Sunday game at Martin Stadium with a home team not wearing the Coug logo?

Maybe the real idea is that the NFL abandon the NCAA.  Rent stadiums, rent logos (frankly, neither Texas nor Tennessee can truly hold copyright to Orange and a T, and pay their players to attend their institutions.

Would you attend a Cougar game on alternative Saturdays if the tam was wearing a Coug helmet, with players who attended the school, but were paid by a larger NFL umbrella?  Yeah, I probably would as well.

The argument is largely semantic, but what the larger cloud is forgetting, is that we as college sports fans love two things: Our schools and our sport.  Give us both, we will continue to be happy.   More importantly:

Go Cougs!