Northwestern University, The University of Missouri, and the “Student-Athlete”: Mobilization Efforts and the Future

  • Adam Epstein Central Michigan University
  • Kathryn Kisska-Schulze Clemson University


Student-athletes have a powerful voice in issues that matter to them. This was most recently demonstrated in two ways, including the 2014 Northwestern University football team’s unsuccessful attempt to organize as a union, and the 2015 University of Missouri’s successful demonstration, both in-person and via social media, ultimately resulting in the resignation of the president of the University. The paper explores the history of student-athlete mobilizations and demonstrates that it should come as no surprise to see increasingly public attempts in the future as student-athletes become more aware of their rights and the campaigns and concerns of others. Student-athletes may continue to influence public opinion and NCAA member institutions as the NCAA rules evolve in the era of social media and instant access to causes and campaigns.
Original Research