As tired as I am of spinning around in the same old arguments about paying college athletes, Wednesday's ruling from the National Labor Relations Board in favor of Northwestern football players' petition to explore unionizing does represent a monumental event for the sport.
I think my feelings on these issues are pretty clear. Furthermore, I'm no lawyer, so I'll spare you any completely unqualified analysis of the decision.
This is far from the last step in the resolution of a complex issue that may not be coming any time soon. Whether or not you like the ultimate outcome or any individual development along the way, I would encourage everyone to keep in mind that these decisions are being made in the context of our legal system. As a society, our laws reflect the consensus of our values. Most of the laws that pertain to the cases at hand now involving college athletics have been on the books for decades (at least). We've had ample time to change our minds about them. Moreover, we also have the ability to re-write these laws going forward.
As much as we as fans may enjoy college sports as we now know them, that system is now being weighed against deeper principles embedded in the DNA of our body politic. If they are found to be irreconcilable, we shouldn't ignore that just because we don't like the ripple effects or the fear of having fall Saturdays spoiled.