Information Literacy Assignment
Description: The class was assigned this paper to learn how to conduct research more efficiently.
We were told to use the libraries online researching tools to research the topic of students
unionizing. We were given an article on this topic initially and then used the sources we found to
examine just how accurate the claims within the article were. Overall, this assignment was
designed to evaluate credible vs. non-credible sources in conducting research.
Results: It became quite clear for most of the class the not all sources are as valid as they appear
to be, and researching the author of any sources is always key in determining their credibility.
Information Literacy FYS
How Valid is it Anyway?
What is all the hype about college athletes unionizing? Due to the rising concern among
student athletes at various universities around the nation, the debate of granting them the title
“employees” and ultimately unionizing them has become explosive. Along with differing
opinions on the topic, information about the topic has become quite diverse. Who is presenting
the real truth about unionizing college athletes?
Newsday of New York was one of several sources to put out their lowdown on this rising
topic. It is no doubt to readers that Michael Dobie is highly against the actions of the NCAA
simply by the title of his article Athletes aren’t blind to the billions they earn for the NCAA. In
the text Dobie begins his discussion with the topic of March Madness due to the fact that the
issue became more widely known back in the spring. Dobie continues on to discuss one of the
initial sparks of the subject matter A.K.A. Northwestern University. According to Dobie, the
university deemed their student athletes as employees through the National Labor Relations
Board (Dobie, 1). While this statement was valid, the reporter failed to continue the discussion of
the outcome of the situation. According to Steve Berkowitz of USA TODAY Sports, there was
in fact more to the story. Apparently after the NLRB granted the students this alleged title, the
students were given the right to vote on whether or not they wished to form a union. However,
Berkowitz highlights the fact that the athletes at Northwestern have not actually drawn their
ballots because the full board hasn’t yet made a decision so they are not allowed to until the
actions of the board are complete (Berkowitz, 05c). What is the difference between these two
sources of information? While Dobie’s statements are valid, they are also quite deceiving.
However, Berkowitz actually narrates the entirety of what actually happened which gives readers
true insight regarding the current standing of the case.
As Dobie extends the conversation, he emphasizes the amount of money the NCAA is
profiting off of the athletes; this has become the climax of recent debates. Dobie states that the
NCAA accumulates billions of dollars in football and basketball while granting students only a
scholarship (Dobie, 1). Undoubtedly, Dobie presents an excellent statement due to the fact that it
is evident the NCAA isn’t suffering concerning monetary means. However, Laken Litman and
Paul Myerburg further express this idea in their article for USA TODAY Sports. Litman and
Myerburg relate this topic to a case regarding Duke’s basketball program. According to the
article, a player named Kevin Ware suffered a terrible leg injury and to show support for him the
school partnered with Adidas to sell shirts to raise awareness. The NCAA responded by stating
that this action was prohibited because schools essentially can’t make money off of a player
(Litman, Myerburg, 08c). What is so ironic about this case and how does it relate to Dobie’s
story? This further validates Dobie’s claim because it confirms the mindset of officials from the
NCAA. The organization stated schools can’t make money off of the players, however, the
NCAA can and do all of the time. This case has further ignited the flame on the subject because
the NCAA is using its own policies for its own benefit rather than that of the institutions.
With the same principles of the Duke case came the ever-so-famous exposition from Ed
O’Bannon. According to Dobie’s account, former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon filed a
law suit against the NCAA fighting for players to receive compensation when the NCAA uses
their likeness for their own profit (Dobie, 1). However, Larry Smith reveals to readers that it
wasn’t really compensation that O’Bannon was looking to come out of the case. According to
Larry Smith of Counsel, the former player is looking for a systematic change rather than any sort
of money (Smith, 16). Here it is evident that the whole context of the Ed O’Bannon case is quite
different than stated by Dobie from Newsday. Furthermore, Dobie mentions that the sports
organization is also being sued for lack of protection of head injuries inflicted on players (Dobie,
1). In retrospect, Smith mentions nothing of this but only of the original context of the case
previously stated. This supplements the idea that Dobie’s claims may not be as true as they
appear on paper.
In regards to the O’Bannon case, a report from Alexander Wolff and Ted Keith gives
additional insight on the feature. By giving the outcome, the article revealed that the judge ruled
that any university that uses the likeness of players in any way is required to award that said
player with five thousand dollars to be placed in a trust fund in addition to the scholarships
already received (Wolff, Keith, 14). However, Dobie fails to mention any of this while only
outlining the fact that the NCAA produces revenue while granting the sole compensation of a
scholarship for athletes (Dobie, 1). This is interesting because even though the NCAA didn’t
willingly grant players this additional funding, Dobie’s argument is further persuaded by stating
that they are still receiving scholarships solely.
However, Dobie’s ideals can be justified by Sean Gregory from Time website on the
ordeal. In Gregory’s article he mentions that the NCAA has become a hypocrisy of college sports
and that while coaches live luxuriously they are directly profiting off of the performance of the
players (Gregory, 1). Dobie almost says this word-for-word in his text in discusses the immense
income of the coaches compared to the scholarship values for players. What can be learned from
this? It is quite peculiar that Dobie’s wording is nearly identical to that of Gregory. One might
wonder if Dobie potentially plagiarized Gregory, and this makes one question if they can trust
his information or not. In this case it is difficult to tell due to the fact that the relation of the
NCAA to a hypocrisy has become so widely accepted since the outbreak of this discussion.
Aside from the disputation about monetary value of scholarships vs. profiting of officials,
another element has also been evaluated. According to Dobie’s account, the scholarships athletes
receive don’t correspond with the amount of education they have obtained through their
schooling. He justifies this statement using the source of the University of North Carolina
reporting that sixty percent of football and basketball players only read between fourth and
eighth grade levels. He continues on to say that those scholarships are one-year renewables
meaning that they can be canceled later on for situations that have nothing to do with academics
(Dobie, 1). However, referring back to Smith’s text he states that the NCAA president, Mark
Emmert, has recently granted schools permission to distribute four-year scholarships that can’t
be canceled due to non-academic reasons (Smith, 17). This is a prime example of misinformation
given by an article, and in this case that article in Dobie’s.
So what can be determined about Michael Dobie’s credibility? The most important basis
to the answer of this question would essential be how accurately he presented the information in
regards to the case. However, other factors such as his expertise on the topic, the value of his
sources, and his motive for crafting the article would also be highly important. In my opinion all
of the positive answers to these questions are a direct fuel for credibility of an author. However,
the majority of the time students and society alike fail to research these very aspects of writers to
determine how much they can really be trusted. The only way to cease the spread of
misinformation is to evaluate authors through the use of these very aspects, and essentially just
know a little bit about them before citing every word that they claim to be true. All in all, I
believe that Michael Dobie isn’t very credible in regards to his writing because he only presents
half of the full story and that can really alter the whole context of the message. Furthermore, he
only presented the information that favored the side of his topic which made his articles motive
solely persuasive rather than informative. In conclusion, don’t be fooled by what people say
because the truth is people lie to make others share their personal thoughts and feelings just like
Gregory, Sean. "Landmark College Sports Verdict: Harsh, But In The End Puzzling." Time.Com
(2014): 1. Academic Search Premier. Web. 15 Sept. 2014.
Laken, Litman, et al. "School gets no Ware profits." USA Today n.d.: Academic Search Premier.
Web. 15 Sept. 2014.
Smith, Larry. "Litigation As Transformative Opportunity." Of Counsel 32.10 (2013): 16-18.
Academic Search Premier. Web. 15 Sept. 2014.
Steve, Berkowitz, @ByBerkowitz, and Sports USA TODAY. "College union talk goes to
Congress." USA Today n.d.: Academic Search Premier. Web. 15 Sept. 2014.