So the football players at Northwestern University have formed a union--with plans to be designated as "employees" of the college--and to eventually demand to be paid for their services. I've taken the liberty of writing the response Northwestern administrators should provide to these athletes:
Dear prospective Northwestern employee,
Thank you for your interest in working for this University. Be advised that the position of ATHLETE pays $65,000 a year. You will find that because of Federal Title IX and other anti-gender discrimination laws, this rate shall apply to football players who draw 50,000 fans per game as well as female field hockey players who draw 50 people a game. All athletes--regardless of the sport--will share equally in bonuses paid to the school for tournament and bowl appearances beyond the end of the regular seasons. The university shall cover the costs of your training (practice and workouts) along with all of your equipment and travel.
All positions are available only to Northwestern University students in good academic standing. Tuition for this school just happens to be $65,000 a year. We have attached financial aid applications should you think that you will qualify. You will also be responsible for your own housing expenses--which average about $7500 a year for campus units. Private, off-campus housing is also available--but as an upscale Chicago suburb, that is very expensive. In addition, you will be responsible for all meals. The "unlimited" plan--which is recommended for athletes and their high-caloric needs--is $7,000. All textbooks, lab materials and miscellaneous expenses will also be the responsibility of the employee. Failure to maintain good academic standing will result in termination of employment. Tutoring is available for a fee--and all employees will be responsible for co-ordinating make up tests and other missed class time due to travel for the job.
All employees of Northwestern are eligible for health insurance through the school--with the employee paying a percentage of their monthly premium. All services provided by the Athletic Department medical staff shall be billed to the employee and the insurer. We also recommend purchasing short-term and long-term disability in order to continue to receive a portion of your salary should you become injured and unable to work. Life insurance is also available at an additional cost.
Recently negotiated legal settlements provide you with the right to use your name and likeness as you see fit. If you would like to market merchandise bearing the logo of Northwestern University or any our trademarked uniform designs through a third party vendor, please contact the marketing and legal departments for information on the cost and approved use of those images. The employee will bear the cost of production and sale of any such items.
Finally, the University reserves the right to terminate any employee for poor performance or failure to adhere to work rules. Said employee will be responsible for any and all costs still owed to the school at the time of termination.
We look forward to working with you.
Given the academic standards of Northwestern, I would think that the football players getting that letter might be able to figure out that "working for free" wasn't such a bad deal after all.