Matt Phifer

Paying College Players Would Heavily Impact The ACC

Created on Apr. 30, 2014 11:30 AM EST

The idea of paying college football players has become a major topic of discussion in the world of college football players, but with five private schools that play football, the ACC would be affected more than any other major conference.

The National Labor Relations Board determined that Northwestern's football players are employees who should be paid since they represent their school and make money for the school. If the national board of the NLRB agrees with their ruling, private schools like Northwestern would have to pay their football players if the team chose to form a union. The NLRB's ruling only affects private universities because the NLRB only has jurisdiction over private corporations and universities. Public schools would not be able to pay their players until their individual states determined that the players are employees.

A long legal fight can be expected if the NLRB determines that private universities should pay athletes. Northwestern already has vowed to fight paying its players, though in an undisclosed vote last week, the Wildcats likely voted not to unionize. There is a good chance the fight could go all the way to the Supreme Court.  If the courts side with the players, five ACC schools will have to adapt.

Boston College, Duke, Miami, Syracuse and Wake Forest will all have some major decisions to make if they are forced to pay their players, namely, deciding whether or not playing football is worth the additional investment of paying up to 100 or more players.  They will also have to decide whether or not to pay all the players evenly or pay the top players more.

If the ACC's five private schools decide to go forward with football and pay their players, expect a major power shift in the conference.  Boston College, Duke, Miami, Syracuse and Wake Forest will have a much better recruiting pitch to four and five-star players than the likes of Florida State, Clemson, Louisville, Virginia Tech and North Carolina since they will be able to pay the players. In that scenario, you should expect to see the private schools dominate recruiting and the conference until the individual states of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Kentucky decide to make college athletes employees.     

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