Friday, March 28, 2014
Now that I am teaching MBA courses in negotiation, I see negotiations everywhere.
For example, in reading about the extremely interesting NLRB ruling in favor of the Northwestern University football players – holding that the players are “employees” and can unionize – I came across this Sports Illustrated article: Northwestern ruling sends clear message: NCAA, it's time to negotiate.
Given this ruling, which will be appealed, and the O’Bannon v. NCAA case which is set for trial on June 9, there is likely to be a great deal of negotiation between the NCAA and players outside of the courtroom over the next few months. As the cases move closer to potential resolutions in favor of the players, the NCAA’s BATNA (best alternative to a negotiation) weakens. The NCAA, however, may raise doubts about the players’ BATNA, by raising things like the possible tax implications of a court victory.
These will be complex, multi-party, multi-issue negotiations. The parties with interests at stake include current and former players, coaches and athletic directors, colleges and universities, the NCAA, and the lawyers on either side. The sports fans also have interests at stake, but while we may be considered, I doubt we will get an actual seat at the negotiation table.
The interests of all these groups create quite the confusing web. The NCAA and the players would be wise to ask questions aimed at uncovering all of the underlying interests of the other parties and try to reach a mutually beneficial resolution outside of court.
For more information, from other professors, on the NLRB ruling in favor of the Northwestern football players see below:
- Marc Edelman (CUNY)
- Darryll Jones (FAMU)
- Kim Krawiec (Duke)
- Michael McCann (New Hampshire) (here and here)
- Steven Wilborn (Nebraska)