'The Daily Show' Investigates College Football Unions and Player Smoke Breaks

This article is from the archive of our partner .

In honor of the NCAA's $20 million settlement with ex-football and basketball players announced Monday, Jon Stewart and The Daily Show checked in on the Northwestern University football team's plan to unionize. 

The settlement, over profits the NCAA made using players' likeness in video games, was announced at the opening of yet another lawsuit over the ban on athletes from profiting themselves off their own likeness. Stewart explained: "So now, the NCAA advances in the bracket to their next lawsuit. But where will it end? With fairly compensating athletes for the ungodly amounts of money they bring in to the NCAA? I hope not, this is America."

To check in on the players vs. NCAA battle raging on, The Daily Show sent Jordan Klepper to investigate the Northwestern football team's ongoing plan to unionize.

One of the questions from quarterback Kain Colter, who's organizing the union: "Right now, not one penny is guaranteed to pay for our medical expenses. You hear all these horror stories about players losing their scholarships after they've been injured. What are these kids going to do?"

"They should get a second job," Klepper said. Except according to Colter, playing college football is a full-time job. 

Recommended Reading

"Okay, well why don't you just sell Kain Colter jerseys, make some extra cash?" Klepper asked. Well, because athletes aren't allowed to do that (see: the current Ed O'Bannon lawsuit). 

"Why don't you just join another league?" Klepper asked, finally.

"There is no other league," Colter said.

Republican strategist Dee Dee Benkie offered Klepper a counter argument to Colter's: "They get free room and board, a free education, and they're playing the game they love ... If they don't want to play football, they can do something else. These football players should be playing for the love of the game."

"Okay, maybe the NCAA does make $11 billion a year, but unions are not the answer," Klepper said. "Says the NCAA."

But there's always the fear that a union will be taken too far:

"What are these football players going to do if they unionize? Do they get a mandatory smoke break every hour?" Benkie asked.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.