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College athletes have taken another step to gain full agency.

First, the NIL ruling allowed them to make some (major) money off of their popularity, but now Dartmouth’s basketball team is taking it even further by attempting to unionize.

The Ivy League kids have put forth a pretty convincing argument that all they do for the university has granted them the right to join together like any employees at a company can, who feel they aren’t being compensated fairly.

A vote was held, and with the 13-2 ruling, it was overwhelmingly clear that the squad wanted a change. However, Dartmouth isn’t letting it happen without a fight, as the school plans to file an appeal against the National Labor Relations Board by the March 12 deadline.

Dartmouth President Sian Beilock told CNN that they believe the kids aren’t employees or even athletes but rather student-athletes.

“We have productive relationships with so many unions. We believe our athletes are students,” President Beilock said. “We don’t give athletic scholarships. We are student-athletes here, and we believe our students should be thought of in that way.”

Despite Dartmouth’s desire for the team to focus on education, it’s hard to ignore that college sports generate a lot of money that the team does not see outside of their stipends.

According to PBS, the NCAA’s Division 1 generated more than $15 billion in 2019 alone. And remember, that’s not counting the massive TV deals the NCAA has signed, like ESPN’s $7.8 billion, six-year deal for the exclusive rights to the College Football Playoffs or the Big Ten’s $7 billion media rights deal with Fox, CBS and NBC.

So even if the decision is overturned, the Dartmouth men’s basketball team understands the tide is turning.

“Today is a big day for our team. We stuck together all season and won this election,” said a statement issued by team members and unionization movement leaders Cade Haskins and Romeo Myrthil. “It is self-evident that we, as students, can also be both campus workers and union members.”

“I think this is just the start,” Haskins said after voting. “I think this is going to have a domino effect on other cases across the country, and that could lead to other changes.”

If upheld, it would have significant implications, but it wouldn’t be the first time; a similar bid was shot down by Northwestern University football players in 2015.

Even those in power, like UConn’s men’s basketball coach Dan Hurley, see the tide turning on the big money being made in college sports.

“These players are putting in incredible work days, work weeks for five, six months,” the championship-winning coach told the AP. “I think there’s so much there that’s going to have to be settled.”

Jim Harbaugh is the newly minted head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers, but after leading Michigan to an undefeated 15-0 National championship win, he’s got the authority to say it’s time the athletes get a piece of the multibillion-dollar pie.

“And it’s long past time to let the student-athletes share in the ever-increasing revenues. I mean, it’s billions,” Harbaugh said after his championship win in January. “And there needs to be a voice for the young people, the student-athletes. Right now there is no voice… I have nothing against unions. That’s the next step, fellas. I think that’s the way you’ve gotta go. That’s what I’d like to see change in college athletics.”

Unionized players could be the future of the NCAA; after all, they’re trading their time (and talent) for housing, medical care and free education. While it’s impossible to predict how long it will take for players’ compensation to change, they are slowly but surely gaining some of the power previously wielded over them by the nation’s biggest colleges and universities.

Big Green: Dartmouth’s Basketball Team’s Attempt To Unionize is Changing The Tide Of College Sports  was originally published on

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