Business & Economy Society & Culture

Sports media expert available to comment on NLRB ruling about college football

Athens, Ga. – The Sports Media program in the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication has an expert available to talk about the recent ruling by the National Labor Relations Board determining that football players at Northwestern University are employees of the school.

Welch Suggs, associate professor of journalism, teaches sports media classes in the Grady College and helped create the new Grady Sports Media Certificate program, the first of its kind offered in the SEC. Suggs is recognized as a leading expert on policy issues in college athletics and women’s sports. He is the author of the book “A Place on the Team: The Triumph and Tragedy of Title IX,” which is critically acclaimed as the definitive work on the evolution of the law guaranteeing equal access to educational opportunities for men and women, particularly as it applies to sports.

From 2005 to 2007, Suggs served as associate director for the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. He has written about sports for the Kansas City Star, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Dallas Business Journal and was part of the original reporting staff at the launch of Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal, where he covered stadium and arena issues, college sports and women’s sports.The decision by the NLRB recognizing football players at Northwestern University as employees of the school opens the door for the student-athletes to unionize. It also adds fuel to the ongoing conversation of whether college athletes should be financially compensated. The NLRB ruling, which currently affects only private colleges, is based on an argument that many athletes receive lucrative scholarships, thus are compensated and should be viewed as employees. The ruling could have significant implications on the future business of college athletics. Suggs can speak about this debate and further implications.

UGA Grady College
Established in 1915, the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication offers undergraduate majors in journalism, advertising, public relations, digital and broadcast journalism and mass media arts. The Sports Media Certificate program is aimed at preparing students for careers in sports writing, sports broadcasting and sports communications, and will be offered beginning in fall 2014. Grady College offers two graduate degrees, and is home to the Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism and the Peabody Awards, internationally recognized as one of the most prestigious prizes for excellence in electronic media. For more information, see or follow @UGAGrady on Twitter.

Follow Suggs on Twitter at @welchsuggs.