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By now, every collegiate sports fan is aware that the National Labor Relations Board’s Chicago regional office has declared Northwestern University college football athletic scholarship recipients eligible for union representation. The decision has raised the usual chorus of cheers and criticisms that arise whenever and wherever unionization comes up. One also hears support for the regional director’s ruling from those who view Big Ten football programs as the NFL in disguise. A lot of ink has been spilled repeating his finding that between 2003 and 2012, the Northwestern football program earned $76 million more than it spent.

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