ICYMI: Tuberville Joins “America Reports” to Discuss Unionization in College Sports 

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) joined “America Reports” on Fox News Channel to discuss unionization in college sports and his bipartisan legislation to address Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL). The interview follows yesterday’s vote from Dartmouth College men’s basketball team to unionize. 

Excerpts from Senator Tuberville’s interview can be found below, and the full interview can be found on YouTube or Rumble

ROBERTS: “Dartmouth University’s men’s basketball team becoming the first unionized team in the NCAA in a historic vote that could potentially change college sports as we know it. Players will be able to negotiate on compensation, benefits, and working conditions. So, will this spark other universities to follow soon? Let’s bring in Alabama Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville. He spent forty years coaching college football at four universities, including Auburn. Senator, good to talk to you. As most people know, NCAA has long had rules prohibiting the paying of amateur athletes, other than scholarships. They recently relaxed the rules a bit on endorsements. But would this vote essentially turn the Dartmouth men’s basketball team into professionals and how big a deal could that be?”

TUBERVILLE: “Well, you’re exactly right, John. They’re going to kill the goose that laid the golden egg—all these athletes are—because it pays for everything. Scholarships are paid—men and women—but there’s a lot of people that don’t bring in money to universities. But what’s going to happen here is you’re going to see groups of people that’s going to try to unionize and then it’s going to spread across the country. We’ve been fighting it here. Joe Manchin and I did a NIL bill that was bipartisan, but it kept unionization out, but the Democrats wanted it in. That’s the reason we haven’t gotten it to the floor. But this will absolutely kill college sports. You know, the last time I looked, they’re not employees. These students are student-athletes. And if you want the federal government involved and ruin something, you try to make the student-athletes employees. Soon the federal government will get involved, unions will get involved, and it will be a total disaster.”

ROBERTS: “So, this was spearheaded by a couple of juniors, Cade Haskins and Romeo Myrthil. Here’s what they said about the effort, they said, ‘Today is a big day for our team. We stuck together all season and won this election. It is self-evident that we, as students, can also be both campus workers and union members. Dartmouth seems to be stuck in the past. It’s time for the age of

amateurism to end.’ They say this idea [of] student-athletes being unpaid is a thing of the past.”

TUBERVILLE: “Well, they’re already getting paid. And I’m not against student-athletes making some money because it’s a full-time job being an athlete, and a full-time job being in academics. But there’s a way forward where they can do both without unionizing. You can’t get government and unions involved. Unions have ruined our education system across the country. I was in a union when I first got into coaching in high school. Man, has it gone downhill, John. We can’t allow this to happen. Coaches are going to get out of the business. Coaches right now have a little bit of control of the football team or the basketball team or gymnastics. Problem is, [if] unions get involved, they will go on strike right before a championship game. They will hold hostage the people that are paying the bills.”

ROBERTS: “So, here’s one of the things that I’m wondering: when you look at Dartmouth, its basketball program is fairly small. It’s in the Ivy League. It’s Division One. But it brings in $1.3 million a year in revenue. So, if they’re going to get paid, it’s from a very small pot. But when you look at some of these other major basketball dynasties—Duke revenue in 2020 was $33 million, Yukon, $24 million, UNC, $31 million, Kentucky, $22 million, Indiana, nearly $26 million. Could student-athletes look at this and say, ‘Holy cow, that’s a huge pot of money. Let’s do what everybody in Dartmouth did, and get our piece of it’?”

TUBERVILLE: “Well, the problem you have there too is a lot of that money, and most of the money goes to scholarship programs. It goes to facilities for men and women. This is profit obviously, but profit goes back into the business. Again, I’m all for at student-athletes making some money. But I’m for all of them making money.” […]

ROBERTS: “Alright. Well, we’ll see where the legislation goes, and we’ll see where this goes. Senator, great to catch up with you. Thanks so much for your time. Really appreciate it.”

TUBERVILLE: “You too, John.”

Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.