Pitt notebook: University officials opposed to unions in college sports

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As a public institution, Pitt was not directly affected by the National Labor Relations Board’s ruling Wednesday that classified scholarship football players as university employees.

The ruling, which allowed Northwestern football players to begin unionization, only applies to private schools.

The NLRB does not have jurisdiction of public schools, such as Pitt.

Despite that, Pitt released a statement Thursday saying it was opposed to the idea of classifying student-athletes as employees.

“The University of Pittsburgh remains committed to the concepts of amateurism and student-athletes that have always been the foundation of our athletic endeavors,” the statement read.

“We do not believe that treating student-athletes as employees will be beneficial for the students.”

Pitt center Artie Rowell said that he had seen the news, but didn’t necessarily agree with the concept of paying players.

“My whole take on players getting paid is you have to take advantage of the intangibles that they offer, such as life skills,” he said.

“You go pay-for-play, you’re going to get into the Johnny Manziels and those guys getting way more money than I’m going to get. I don’t know, though. I would like to have more money myself. I think anyone would.”

Quarterback Chad Voytik echoed his center, and said that unionization and the Northwestern case weren’t necessarily hot topics in the Pitt locker room.

“Truthfully, I feel like we’re compensated enough,” Voytik said. “We get a free education and all that.”

New event is planned

Pitt announced plans for its spring-ending “Pitt Football Field Pass” event Thursday.

Because Pitt is not having a traditional spring game, the Panthers will open up their South Side facility to fans April 13.

The event will include an on-field clinic for youth eighth grade and younger, with Pitt players manning seven positional groups (quarterback, running back, receiver, offensive/defensive line, linebacker, defensive back and kicking).

Adult fans will be able to sit in on offensive and defensive “chalk talks” held by coordinators Joe Rudolph and Matt House.

Recruiting coordinator Dann Kabala and strength and conditioning coach Ross Kolodziej also will conduct sessions detailing their areas of expertise.

The event is free, but Pitt would like interested fans to RSVP online or by phone to the Pitt ticket office.

QBs getting equal snaps

Coach Paul Chryst confirmed Thursday that quarterbacks Voytik, a redshirt sophomore, and Trey Anderson, a redshirt senior, have been receiving equal snaps with the first and second team through six practices spring.

Even though Voytik is presumed to be the starter this fall, Chryst said he wanted to make sure the only two quarterbacks on his roster got plenty of work getting comfortable with all the other offensive players.

“I thought they missed some stuff in the red zone today, but they’ve been working,” Chryst said of his quarterbacks. “I like the way they’ve been studying.

“We’ve got a long ways to go, but they’re doing all the things necessary, so you can’t fault them.”


Sam Werner: swerner@post-gazette.com and Twitter @SWernerPG.

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