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Apr 07, 2014 12:49 PM EDT

NLRB Unionization Ruling 'Grossly Inappropriate' to NCAA Prez Mark Emmert


NCAA President Mark Emmert knows college sports are bound to change dramaticly, but he will still fight for the change he thinks is appropriate.

According to ESPN, Emmert was highly critical of the National Labor Rights Board's (NLRB) decision to deem college athletes employees, therefore giving them the right to form a union.

"To be perfectly frank, the notion of using a union employee model to address the challenges that do exist in intercollegiate athletics is something that strikes most people as a grossly inappropriate solution to the problems," Emmert said Sunday speaking to the media at the Final Four in Arlington, Texas. "It would blow up everything about the collegiate model of athletics."

Emmert wants to give more autonomy to athletic directors of schools in the five "power conferences," whose sports programs earn more money than any other Division I school. The ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC would essentially have more control over cost of attendance and other decisions that directly affect their student-athletes.

"There's some things that need to get fixed," Emmert said. "They're working very aggressively to do that. No one up here believes that the way you fix that is by converting student-athletes into unionized employees."

The Division I board of directors are reportedly going to vote in Aug. on these autonomy changes, which could very well make it even more difficult for smaller schools to compete with larger wealthier ones in recruiting and hiring staff. The new model would give the power conferences different rules than all the others, including the ability to pay their athletes the cost of attendance.

"I think that most of Division I memberships see that we're standing at a fork in the road," Kirk Schulz, president of Kansas State University and a member of the Division I steering committee for governance, told ESPN. "What we're going to put out there is not perfect, but I believe the vast majority of members recognize that we need to do it rapidly."

The NCAA is going to change one way or another, but the board expects to do it on its own terms come Aug.

"I'm very optimistic that we're going to have some no votes," said Schultz. "But I think at the end of the day, there's a realization that if you don't do this, that we could be in some real trouble."

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