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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

University Of Delaware President: Unionizing Could End Sports Programs

University of Delaware president Patrick Harker says he would have to shut down his varsity sports program if student athletes won the right to be paid.(udel.edu)

University of Delaware president Patrick Harker says he would have to shut down his varsity sports program if student athletes won the right to be paid.(udel.edu)

Northwestern University college football players cast ballots last week on whether to unionize. The results of that vote are still unknown. Even if the players voted to join a union, legal actions could stall that from taking place for months or even years.

But the vote has stirred debate over whether college athletes deserve to be paid.

University of Delaware president Patrick Harker is a vocal opponent of paying college athletes.

He tells Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson that 90 percent of colleges and universities don’t make money from their sports programs. Harker says he would have to shut down the University of Delaware’s varsity sports program if student athletes won the right to be paid.

“Don’t let the exception be the rule,” Harker said. “There are those programs that make a lot of money, but they are not the majority of Division I athletics. And I say this not just as a university president, but I was a student athlete too, many years ago, with many injuries ago. And I learned a lot out of that experience and I don’t want us to lose those opportunities for this generation of student athletes.”

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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