CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- If you missed Wednesday's news cycle, you might have missed what could turn out to be a very significant story.
Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter announced plans to form the first labor union for college athletes. It was viewed as the latest salvo in the fight over whether amateur players should be paid.
If you did catch the story, well, there are some components that either weren't well publicized or simply not brought up.
First, there is a slight connection to West Virginia or, more specifically, West Virginia University. See, the formal entity that would represent the players, if certified by the National Labor Relations Board, would be called the College Athletes Player Association. That was created by three people: Ramogi Huma, Colter and Luke Bonner.
Yes, that Luke Bonner. The Luke Bonner who played basketball for WVU and coach John Beilein in 2004-05 before transferring to Massachusetts.
It's interesting to me that Huma, who played linebacker at UCLA in the late 1990s, and Colter have been leading the charge when Bonner would be the more appropriate pick. See, the targeted NCAA is almost completely funded via the billions of dollars made through March Madness.
Whatever the case there, I completely understand the frustration of the athletes. Now, it's a little much to say "the current [NCAA] model represents a dictatorship," as Colter did. (We're not talking about treatment a la Mao Zedong, Saddam Hussein or Idi Amin.) Yet how can the current setup not lead to frustration and ill feelings?
Consider that in the very next news cycle after that of Wednesday, a story crossed the wire explaining the contract extension of Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith.
When a Buckeye athlete or team wins a national championship, Smith - not the athlete or team, but Smith - will receive a bonus of $18,000 to $36,000. His base salary will be $940,484. He can earn more than $1.5 million annually.
And the kids putting in the work to win those titles shouldn't throw up their arms in exasperation?
The athletes are coached. They are instructed. And, yes, in many instances, they are coddled and spoiled. But they are the ones making any magic happen.
Now, compared to those coaching and instructing, are the athletes being fairly compensated via scholarships?
I submit that the vast majority of the time the answer is yes. I do, though, understand the athletes' side.
"How can they call this amateur athletics when our jerseys are sold in stores and the money we generate turns coaches and commissioners into multimillionaires?" Colter asked.
It's a fair question, and it brings up another question I believe hasn't received enough attention in discussion of the issue.
See, so far the maypole has been whether college athletes can be called "employees" of schools. A court will have to rule on that in order for the union to be certified by the NLRB.
It will be argued that college football players, in particular, put in 40-hour work weeks, create revenue and are compensated with scholarships, room and board, etc.
But back to Colter's statement. He mentioned amateurism. What of amateurism?
Perhaps it's dead.