Local football figures react - Charleston, WV - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Local football figures react to controversial college ruling

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Tony DeMeo has coached numerous Division One schools Tony DeMeo has coached numerous Division One schools
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CHARLESTON, West Virginia -

It was a landmark ruling that could change the face of college athletics.  "I love college athletics.  It raised my family.  However, the purpose of college is to get an education," said Tony DeMeo. 

DeMeo has coached numerous Division One schools, schools such as Temple, James Madison, Murray State, and Delaware.  He played at Iona.  He just recently retired as head coach of the University of Charleston.

He said, "College athletics, you're getting paid by getting an education."  But he sees both sides of this week's controversial ruling, paving the way to unionize scholarship athletes.

DeMeo said, "When you start adding games to schedules like play offs, bowl games and this and that, the institutions are making money.  The only ones not making money are the college athletes.

Supporters said they want to unionize to reduce head injuries, get medical expenses covered for current and former Northwestern players and open the door to possible commercial sponsorships. 

They argue the NCAA rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars a year, yet leaves athletes with little say.  Non-scholarship players are not included.   

"When it comes down to it, you sign a national letter of intent saying you're going to come to a school for a full scholarship and in turn, you're going to play football for it," said William King.

King is a former Marshall University linebacker.  He's also coached numerous schools around the country.  He said, "At Marshall, we played for plane crash victims.  We played for the community.  We played for each other.  Now, we're starting to debate about compensation?  I don't know, it's just not good in my opinion."

This ruling only applies to Northwestern and if pursued, to private universities.  It still could be overturned.