COLLEGE PARK — A National Labor Relations Board official's decision that Northwestern's scholarship football players can vote to unionize is likely to accelerate the pace of NCAA reforms and "change the landscape" of college athletics, Maryland coach Randy Edsall said Thursday.
"I think there are issues that we do have that need to be addressed," Edsall told reporters after practice. "With that ruling, I would think there are going to be some things that would change in terms of the structure."
Wednesday's ruling by an NLRB regional director could lead to collective bargaining by Northwestern football players on matters related to health, safety and financial support.
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Northwestern, which says athletes should be treated as students rather than employees, plans to appeal to the full NLRB in Washington.
Edsall neither endorsed nor criticized the decision, but said “it’s something that’s going to change the landscape, I’m sure, as things move forward.”
In 2013, Edsall expressed support for athletes trying to legally block the NCAA from cashing in on their likenesses without returning some of the revenue to players. He has also said players should receive a monthly stipend.
Nobody has yet moved ahead in the competition for the top spot at left guard, Edsall said. The contenders are Silvano Altamirano, who will be a senior, and rising junior Evan Mulrooney.
Mulrooney was recently switched from center to guard.
“Those guys are going to alternate,” Edsall said. “We’ll have a scrimmage [Friday] night [in Waldorf] and get another evaluation.”
Edsall said Caleb Rowe — last year’s No. 2 quarterback — is ahead in the competition for the same position this season. Graduate student C.J. Brown remains the starter.
“I would say Caleb is probably a little bit ahead in that battle,” the coach said. “We’ve got to get more consistency out of him.”