Updated Mar 28, 2014 - 5:41 pm
Cards' Jay Feely: Player safety is primary goal of NCAA teams unionizing
So, will they?
Scholarship players will vote within 30 days on whether they want to unionize and be represented by the College Athletes Players Association.
If the team decides to unionize, Arizona Cardinals kicker Jay Feely says the move will tackle a variety of issues concerning today's collegiate and professional players.
"What they're trying to accomplish with unionizing is to create workplace safety, workers' compensation, injury protection, as well as a collective rule governing practices and what you can do at practices," Feely told Doug and Wolf of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
"I think that's one of the biggest things. You still have college coaches that have the autonomy to create whatever practice format they want. If you look at the last collective bargaining agreement, we may have gave up some financial gains, potentially, as players and as the NFL Players Association, that we could have attained in exchange for a safer workplace environment."
The most recent NFL CBA introduced revisions to practice scheduling, including eliminating two-a-day practices, setting a maximum of 4.5 hours on field per day in training camp and enforcing unannounced inspections by NFLPA staff to ensure compliance.
After suiting up for the University of Michigan for three years, and as a 13-year NFL pro, Feely suggests that the college game doesn't look out for a player's long-term health compared to the NFL.
"I've had conversations with athletic directors that wish they could change their college coach's philosophy on practice, where they're hitting still everyday, where they're in full pads everyday and you're putting players at risk from a health standpoint," Feely said. "Those athletic directors don't have the power to go to a coach, for example, Nick Saban, and say ‘Hey, we're not going to practice this way anymore'. But, if you had a union and you were able to as college players create a uniform collective rule that would dictate what college coaches could do, you would create a safer environment."
Northwestern announced they would appeal the decision of the National Labor Relations Board making football players employees of the school, but if the decision stands, the case could be taken to a higher level court.
- Cardinals receive 'B' offseason grade from USA Today
- NFL.com's Rosenthal: Calais Campbell among NFL's most underrated players
- Arizona Cardinals' Andre Ellington tops ESPN list of breakout candidates
- Ron Jaworski: Arizona Cardinals' Carson Palmer 20th-best QB in NFL
- NFL.com writers: Arizona Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald 'primed to regress in 2014'
- Dr. Cynthia Arnson - Immigration and Central America Expert - Tuesday July 22Why are we seeing this influx of immigrant minors?
- Mike Sando, ESPN NFL insider - Tuesday July 22ESPN NFL insider Mike Sando gives updates from around the NFC West as teams head into training camp.
- Lorenzo Alexander, AZ Cardinals linebacker - Friday July 18Cardinals linebacker Lorenzo Alexander talks about team expectations for 2014.
- John McClain, Houston Chronicle sportswriter - Friday July 11Houston Chronicle sportswriter John McClain talks about the Rockets’ offseason.
- Steve Keim, AZ Cardinals GM - Friday June 20Keim discusses his players progress so far and his anticipation of future signings.