As is often the case, the devil is in the details. As a lawyer, it is notable that most commentary on legal issues in public is done by persons without the legal savvy to fully understand it. Folks remember that woman who received the huge verdict from McDonald’s for burning herself with hot coffee. Few realize the true facts of the case make even this grizzled civil defense attorney think that the case had some merit worthy of an atypical judgment/settlement. The long and short of it is that people would be well advised to know the actual facts (to the extent possible) and read the actual rulings by judges with a legal eye before criticizing same. Such may be the case with the recent Northwestern-union issue, where the idea of student-athletes as employees seems far-fetched… until you analyze the facts, the legal standard for what an “employee” is, and the ruling itself.
Indeed, it was disappointing to read that the academically-successful Northwestern student-athletes may have been discouraged from taking the courses that they wanted to take. At the other extreme, however, are the discussions about how some student-athletes have academic skills that are so far below those of their college peers. The purported North Carolina essay that is making the rounds on the Internet is one example of that story. The Confidential believes that it may be appropriate to consider an alternative track for the at-risk student-athlete with subpar academic skills.