The Norman Transcript

Sports

April 23, 2014

Stoops doesn’t view athletes as employees

NORMAN — College sports’ shifting landscape could receive a major jolt Friday when Northwestern’s football players vote on whether or not to form a union.

In a ruling specific to Northwestern, the Chicago branch of the National Labor Relations Board ruled Northwestern football players were employees of the school and have the right to collective bargaining.

Stoops does not see his players as employees.

“I look at them as part of our family in a way that we’re here to support them and help them in every way possible. We want to guide them and help them get their education, as well as develop them to be as good athletes as they want to be,” he said Tuesday during the Big 12 Conference coaches spring teleconference. “It’s kind of different because I’ve never fired one. If they are employees, I guess you get to fire them. I’d never want to do that to a young guy that’s doing the best he can to be a part of this program.”

Stoops has been relatively quiet about the subject. In recent months, he has endorsed increasing all athletic scholarships to cover the full cost of tuition.

On the radar: OU is looking for a new player personnel director after Reed Case left Monday to join Texas’ personnel staff.

Stoops said coaching qualities are not essential for the job.

“A guy that is personable and can organize recruiting. Really, not a guy that’s looking to be on the field because he’s not allowed to be on the field,” he said. “Most of the time, a guy that administrates recruiting, someone that understands recruiting, can host people when they are here, can direct our coaches and organize and help (recruiting coordinator/running backs coach Cale) Gundy, who is our recruiting coordinator, and organize where everyone is at and keep up with it all.”

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