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A College Football Union? Bad Call, Ref!

Tickers in this article: AMZN

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Congratulations Peter Ohr! Now people know who the hell you are.

Now go away and take your misinformed, convoluted and ridiculous ruling with you.

For those on the sidelines, Ohr is a regional director at the National Labor Relations Board and the NLRB ruled Wednesday that football players at Northwestern University could form a union. 

Ohr, you're wrong. Football players are not "employees" at these universities, they don't "work" 50 to 60 hours a week and are not told when to sleep and eat by their coaches. 

Practice time is limited to 20 hours a week, mandated by the NCAA. There is film study and other preparations that require time beyond that 20 hours, sure, but it's not 30 to 40 hours. To suggest otherwise is quite ridiculous.

Ohr has been sucked into a trap many have fallen into before. College sports is some sort of profit-making machine where everyone gets rich except the players. It's a false claim, plain and simple. 

The large majority of college athletic programs lose money, despite strong revenue from football and basketball. Costs, including tuition, keep it from operating at a profit. It's like Amazon -- amazing, but not a money maker. Surprised?

Only eight athletics programs at public universities broke even or had net operating income on athletics each year from 2005-2009, according to data provided by USA Today to the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. Private schools don't fair any better.

Do many football teams turn a profit? Yes, absolutely, but that profit supports other programs that don't, from men's baseball to women's volleyball. If you separate money-making programs from those that don't, you have a problem, several problems in fact.

Thanks to Title IX, an overwhelming success that has had implications many don't realize, college athletic programs are flush with programs that burn cash like firewood.