Inside Higher Ed
May 20th, 2015
The former president of Northwestern University said Tuesday that if
the university was forced to consider college athletes as employees, he
hopes Northwestern would leave big-time colleges sports behind.
“What does paid athletics have to do with the university mission?”
said Henry Bienen, who retired as Northwestern’s president in 2009. “If
at some point you go down that slope and you’re all the way down that
slope, I think you’ll see a bailing of lots of private and even some
public universities. At least I hope so.”
The comments came Tuesday during a panel discussion organized by the
Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, of which Bienen is a
member. They also came as Northwestern awaits a National Labor Relations
Board decision that would decide if its football players -- and college
athletes at private colleges, more generally -- could unionize as
employees of the university.