Stanford coach questions unionization movement

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 31, 2014 at 10:07 pm •  Published: March 31, 2014

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Stanford coach David Shaw is questioning what's behind the union movement by Northwestern football players, saying everything they are asking for is already being provided by most universities.

Shaw said following Stanford's spring practice Monday night that he's "curious what's really driving" the union. He said his players are given an athletic scholarship worth about $60,000 annually and have never had to pay for a health care service.

"I'm as confused as anybody as to the importance of this," Shaw said. "I'm curious what's really driving it. I've seen everything, and everything that's been asked for, my understanding is it's been provided. I think Northwestern does a phenomenal job providing for their kids, and it's weird to try to unionize but still compliment Northwestern and compliment their coaching staff on being taken care of. Those things don't seem to go hand in hand."

Shaw's comments came after last week's ruling by a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board that Northwestern's football team can be considered employees and have the right to form a union. The school is appealing.

Shaw also fired back at outgoing Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter's comments that Stanford rescinded a scholarship because of an injury. Shaw, who personally recruited Colter out of his Colorado high school, said he couldn't elaborate on Colter's situation but he's never rescinded a scholarship from a player because of an injury — and never will.

"I went to his high school. I talked to his high school coach. I sat there and talked to him for an hour-and-a-half and watched all the kids' film," Shaw said. "There was no way we dropped a scholarship offer because he got hurt."

The College Athletes Players Association, or CAPA, has said its specific goals include guaranteeing coverage of sports-related medical expenses for current and former players, reducing head injuries and potentially letting players pursue commercial sponsorships.