Gender and the Law Prof Blog

Editor: Tracy A. Thomas
University of Akron School of Law

Saturday, April 5, 2014

College Athlete Unionization: Good or Bad for Women?

From NYT, Amid Cheers, Union Bid Stirs Concern for Women

Erin Buzuvis (Western New England) sees potential good:

Given the current state of college athletics, there seems more potential benefit than risk for women in the types of reform that might ripple from the Northwestern case, said Erin Buzuvis, a law professor at Western New England University and a co-founder of the Title IX Blog.


“Division I athletic programs have been bringing in increasingly more money, and it hasn’t been the case that opportunities for women have been getting better,” Buzuvis said. “In fact, we’ve been seeing the reverse, a backslide.”


In her view, the equal treatment requirement of Title IX would compel colleges to provide the same collectively bargained benefits to female athletes as male athletes, from extended health insurance to salaries. “Nothing that happened” so far in the Northwestern case “changed Title IX in any way,” Buzuvis said.

Ellen Staurowsky (Drexel, sports management), sees some bad (and good):

If it holds that athletes are employees, Title IX, which refers to access to education, may not apply, said Ellen J. Staurowsky, a professor of sports management at Drexel and an expert on Title IX and college sports reform....


But an overhaul of athletics could stop the pitting of football players and men’s basketball players against female athletes, Staurowsky of Drexel said.


“The system is not committed to equity on either side,” she said. “It denies the rights of athletes who should be recognized as workers, and it has also violated Title IX with impunity. I think this window of opportunity, in terms of truth telling and saying what this enterprise actually is, opens the door to make gains on both fronts if we acknowledge that neither front has been well served.”

Sports | Permalink


Post a comment