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NLRB Earthquake

Things Have Changed For Northwestern, Chris Collins, And Everyone
Things Have Changed For Northwestern, Chris Collins, And Everyone
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that the Northwestern football players - and thereby others - who asked to unionize had the right to do so.

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It may be one of those decisions that takes a while to fully understand, but over at CBS Sports, Jeremy Fowler points out one possible unintended consequence: if, as former Northwestern QB  Kain Colter maintains, football is a job, then many of the things associated with college football and heretofore taken for granted, may be taxable.

Start with the scholarship itself, which at Northwestern is somewhere around $60,000.

But then there are other potential benefits: food, training, complimentary use of the school's facilities.

Northwestern, and then other schools, could be required to deal with unemployment insurance, disability, pensions, long-term health care - who knows?

Will it happen this way? That's for lawyers and bureaucrats to resolve. But what we can say is that the IRS will make the decisions on many of these issues, and whatever anyone thinks, some people are going to be in for a rude awakening. For one minor example, if the scenario suggested above comes to pass, then schools like Northwestern - and obviously Duke - will have athletes in a much higher tax bracket than, say, Illinois or UNC.

And what do you do when you have a kid, like Chris Carrawell or PJ Hairston, who comes to school with nothing in his pockets and gets handed a big tax bill?

Solving problems isn't as easy as it looks sometimes.

This would probably be a bad time to mention that almost all athletic departments lose money, but there's that too.