I know one of the Key and Peele writers. He is offended by the comparison.
that is nice bonus change
Colter pulled a hamstring during this press conference
If you hadn’t heard, Northwestern’s football players won a court thingy yesterday. NLRB Regional Director Peter Sung Ohr ruled that Northwestern’s players meet the definition of employees, and can therefore form a union if they wish. You can read the ruling here, but why do that when I can summarize it for you with amusing banter?
Bring in the inquisitive bolded alter-ego!
Hey, you can’t tell me what to do. You’re not my boss.
Well that’s the question, isn’t it?
God you are insufferable. Okay, fine. I’ll play your game. GEE WHIZ, WHAT HAPPENED?
Well, to understand fully, we need to go back to 1935…
…when Congress passed the National Labor Relations Act. Under the NLRA, private sector employees have the right to join unions and to collectively bargain for stuff like wages, salary, better candy in the vending machines, and for the boss to stop using words like “synergy” and “Tiger Team.” The catch is that it only applies to employees. The NLRA, for example, doesn’t give students the right to form a union. A person is an “employee” if they perform services in exchange for payment, and are under that person’s control. What the NLRB regional board ruled was that Northwestern’s players do football stuff for Northwestern, as directed by Northwestern* (in the form of the coaches), and in return are compensated with a scholarship and things. In short, Northwestern’s football players are employees of the University.
*other than the defensive secondary, which the NLRB noted “did not seem to understand what a ‘deep half’ was supposed to look like, and displayed an utter disregard for the coaches’ directions to, quote, ‘just look for the other color jersey and guard someone, anyone, goddammit.’”
But the players aren’t paid. They just got to go to school for free and eat some free food and stuff. How are they any different than a normal scholarship student who does biology things the way the biology department says?
That was the University’s main argument. They claimed that the players were more like Graduate Assistants, who aren’t considered employees under a previous NLRB decision (Brown University, 342 NLRB 483 (2004)). The court said that the difference was that GAs aren’t employees because their relationship to their various universities is primarily educational. In other words, your PoliSci GA is simultaneously teaching and studying PoliSci, so they don’t count him as an employee for the teaching part.
The ‘work’done by football players, on the other hand, is completely unrelated to the educational mission of the school and to the athletes’ studies. The university doesn’t get any educational advancement from what football players do (though Northwestern seriously tried to make the argument that playing sports enriches the student experience, and sports are therefore educational, which is exactly as bad of an argument as it sounds).
Instead the school receives gigantic piles of money from what football players do. The school’s interest is economic, not educational. Moreover, they said that the players are not “primarily students,” as they spend up to 50-60 hours per week** on football duties.
Cool to see so many people excited about education
**Real hours. No one other than the NCAA gives a flying crap about the hilarious differentiation between “countable hours” and “non-countable hours.” Mike Rosenberg still sucks.
[AFTER THE JUMP: More union talk. Plus a Sad Pat Fitzgerald GIF]
So who does this affect?
Not as many people as you might think.
So cut to the chase: how much are Northwestern players going to get paid now? And what IS the going rate for the run-of-the-mill Unstoppable Throw God?
We’re like 31 steps from there. This isn’t a ruling that gets players paid. It isn’t a ruling that changes anything about the game or the player obligations or team rules or jerseys. It doesn’t even create a union at Northwestern. All it does is declare that Northwestern players CAN form a union, and that the union (if created) will be empowered to negotiate on behalf of the players.
This isn’t about pay-for-play. CAPA has listed its goals, which consist of:
|You’ve gotta diversify your bonds.|
Notably missing are “cash rules everything around me,” “get the money,” and “dollar dollar bill y’all.”
But this breaks college sports into a billion tiny pieces, each no larger than Tom Izzo, right?
According to the NCAA, yes. According to logic, shut the hell up NCAA.
First, despite the fact that it has become a Key and Peele parody of an SNL parody of itself, the NCAA continues to exist, and its eligibility rules are still in place. If CAPA formed a union tomorrow and demanded that Northwestern pay them an additional 7 cents per hour, the players would become ineligible. Now, granted, the NCAA has mountains of its own legal troubles already, but the nature of the interaction between Northwestern and its athletes is completely detached from the NCAA.
Some (including John Infante) have wondered whether this would put either schools’ or the NCAA’s non-profit/tax exempt status in jeopardy, but I don’t think so. Non-profits can have employees, and they can do things that make money. The vast majority of sports would still be amateur, so I don’t think it’s a problem.
Of course, the NCAA came out with one of their usual “holy shit you actually pay these people to communicate with the public for you on purpose” statements in response to the ruling (which has been appropriately fisked by Sippin on Purple). They continue to conflate the issues of athlete pay with athlete negotiating rights, because John Q. Fan doesn’t think college athletes should be paid, but is generally okay with athletes jointly deciding to try to avoid rhabdo and concussions a little bit.
These guy, man.
Doesn’t this mean that scholarships are going to be taxed?
Maybe. Probably not. But definitely not right now. Multiple tax experts have given different answers to this question, and I am not a tax lawyer. But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express once, and without going too deep in the weeds, the IRS decided a long time ago that it was not going to tax athletic scholarships. IRS Revenue Ruling 77-263 states that athletic scholarships are excluded from gross income.
If the Universities and the newly-unionized players don’t make any significant changes to the compensation structure, there is no reason to expect the IRS to change its stance. You see, the IRS doesn’t much give a Chipotle-induced crap about what the NLRB says, and the NLRB couldn’t care less about how people treat income for tax purposes. One of the first things you learn in labor law is that an employee is an employee whether you label them an “employee,” a “student-athlete,” a “compensated volunteer,” or "haberdasher's apprentice." It is the facts that control, not the labels.
|Generic taxation picture|
Plus, here’s the kicker: under Rev. Rul. 77-263, athletic scholarships are taxable if they can be withdrawn by the universities in the event the athlete quits his chosen sport. So, on a plain text reading, athletes should be paying taxes RIGHT NOW. If Brady Hoke can pull a scholarship from a kid who decides to quit football (and I think that’s a pretty safe bet), Michigan football players should already be counting their scholarships as income. But one thing a union can potentially do is get the school to enforce its four year guaranteed scholarship authorized by the NCAA, which WOULD bring them back within the tax-free zone.
Like I said, weeds. But the bottom line is that the people who set and interpret the tax code are subject to political pressure. They aren’t going to put themselves out there as the monsters who obliterated college football over a tiny tiny tiny amount of tax revenue. It’s a theoretical risk, not a practical one.
I’ve gotta ask: what is the big deal?
The practical effects are interesting and could potentially affect a few parts of the athlete/university relationship. But for me, the bigger issue is a more fundamental one.
People have asked why the NLRB thinks athletes should be employees, and that’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the process. The NLRB isn’t saying football players should be treated like employees. They’re saying that football players ARE employees. The NCAA has been hiding for years behind the theory that because these kids are “student-athletes” (a term the NCAA made up to avoid liability), the normal rules don’t apply.
Yesterday’s ruling was a pretty clear indication that those arguments are crap. You have an industry that makes huge amounts of money. You have a labor force that is highly skilled, drawn from a very narrow pool, and that spends more than a full time job worth of time on the job. The company’s income is largely based on the performance of the workers. They are under the complete (and damn-near dictatorial) control of their supervisors. And they are compensated to the tune of $50,000 to $75,000. And you ask people to believe they aren’t employees because you created a useful fiction that lets everyone sleep better at night? Shove it, sir. Shove it hard. When you see the facts on paper, it’s impossible to reach any other conclusion without adding some external consideration; “but think of what it will do to the game?”
We tend to let a lot of things slide because we love sports so much. We like physical sports, so law enforcement doesn’t get involved when a player comes up behind a guy from behind, knocks him out cold, and whacks him in the neck with five foot long wooden stick in front of 6,000 witnesses. We enjoy the NCAA football video games, so we played along with the amusing theory that Michigan’s quarterback just happened to wear the same #16 the stores happened to be selling for a few years. We even try to talk ourselves into the idea that maybe football isn’t as dangerous as it’s being made out to be. But with yesterday’s ruling, at least we can say that the legal system can still see through Mark Emmert’s steaming fiction.
What happens now?
Northwestern will almost certainly appeal the ruling to the full NLRB, and I don’t have a clue what happens there. Lester Munson seems pretty confident the ruling will stand, but a labor attorney friend of mine was more skeptical and pointed out that the NLRB doesn’t like rocking the boat, so who knows. In the meantime, the players can vote immediately on whether to form a union. Only the currently-enrolled scholarship athletes are eligible to vote.
Can we get the promised Sad Pat Fitzgerald GIF?
I know one of the Key and Peele writers. He is offended by the comparison.
The original line was "a good parody of a bad parody," which would put them in the "good parody" slot.
Says he's still offended. Would like you to remove all references to the NCAA in this article about Key & Peele so that readers won't associate the two.
in the viewpoint would be appreciated, at least by me. We're well aware of Brian's disdain for the NCAA, and as with most things, you mirror his beliefs. But I'd really like a more balanced analysis, considering your legal expertise.
And "though Northwestern seriously tried to make the argument that playing sports enriches the student experience, and sports are therefore educational, which is exactly as bad of an argument as it sounds". Don't agree with that at all. Sports are extremely educational and I can certainly see the argument of including them under an overall process of learning. Maybe not to the extent where that rules the decision of this day, but they are tremendously useful. Did people learn things from Bo that they didn't learn in PolySci? Yep. Just as a lot of us did from our high school coaches. It's probably why athletics are tied to scholastics at most levels in this country.
It's a bad argument because football players do not major in football, or even get credit for it (usually). The football is something they do completely separate for their degree that happens to bring in buckets of cash.
Or just consider women's athletics, where there is no money at all. Does participation on the women's softball team enrich their educational experience? Yes it does, tremendously. Take it away and they will have learned less in 4 years than they would have without it. Again, perhaps not to the degree that it turns the decision (the billions in $ is the ultimate question here), but the fundamental argument of sports enriching educational experience is one I'd agree with.
On that point, I've yet to here anyone discuss Title IX, though I've been purposely avoiding this topic given it's so far from resolution and almost immediately turns inane. But doesn't the end-game for this result in tearing up Title IX?
In re: Title IX, the short answer is yes, but.
Title IX's weakness has long been that it doesn't recognize the need for greater compensation of revenue sport athletes because of their greater value. At the core of this argument is recognition of this same fact. Of COURSE it affects Title IX, because as it is written if you start spending more on 85 football players you have to spend the same on 85 female athletes.
The point of Title IX was schools that can only afford 120 scholarships will give 85 of them to football players, 15 to men's basketball players, and then use up the other 15 on baseball, wrestling, track & field or what have you--all boys. If you separate revenue sports from non-revenue it will shift the balance of overall athlete support by the universities. Effectively, you'll be shutting down non-revenue women's sports and replacing them with non-revenue men's sports.
Ultimately I would like to see the NCAA keep its scholarship equality but release revenue sports from the economic equation.
"Title IX's weakness has long been that it doesn't recognize the need for greater compensation of revenue sport athletes because of their greater value."
I would avoid conflating "need" with "desire".
You could also make a valid argument that the sports provide a platform that has made a mockery of education. Due to rules where a player isn't allowed to become a full-fledged professional (which clearly directly benefit the NCAA), athletes become student-athletes when they don't want to be. In a lot of cases, probably more than is ever public, classes are skipped, cheating scams are drawn up and a general disregard for education becomes more common than it is in the general student population. I also think it isn't necessarily fair to assume that the athletes on the field hockey team, etc. are learning life lessons and going to every class and not just there to extend their athletic careers.
I don't disagree about enrichment in the general sense, but the problem is that setting aside the money aspect (and even non-revenue sports generate some gross finances, even if they are negative net) rather seriously neuters the discussion. I worked as a TA while at UM, and that experience of leading discussions and lectures was incredibly enriching for me and my studies. At the same time, though, I saved the university money because I was cheap labor and, thanks to the GA union, I was paid an hourly wage even though I was an undergrad. You can be fairly compensated while also enriching, as seemingly everyone else but the athletes are.
As for tearing down Title IX, I don't think it will be eradicated but it will definitely need to be revaluated. Of course, that's been needed for years now, so maybe this is the impetus they all need.
much life experience is--a stretcher. This argument IS risible. While you might grow more skilled in your (revenue-producing) student athlete job, you also often do in pro sports, too.
What if schools were to require athletic studies as part of their core programs; i.e., required gym class, kinesiology, nutrition and health studies; then put out that their mission foci is both the athletic and academic enrichment of all students. Wouldn't that counter this administrative judge's decision that football players, as opposed to academic GAs, provide a compensated service distinct from the core pursuits of the school?
If athletic achievement is as explicit a core pursuit of the school as academia, how can the administrative law judge's determination be credible? Perhaps his decision only applies to Northwestern, which doesn't have both a scholar and an athlete on its Student Union facade, as does U-M.
Interesting you mention that. Which university will start the first Bachelor's of Science in Football?
Depending on what the player is majoring in, football might be completely separate from what they are learning in a classroom. Now, I don't know what is exactly taught for players majoring in say a Sports Management degree, but I would think the football players first hand knowledge of what is going on in a football program might be beneficial to their studies.
In addition, while 'Coaching' is not a degree I have no doubt that for someone like Roy Manning his experience as a player at the University of MIchigan gave him a solid foundation and understanding for his post football playing career as a coach.
That just argues that we should get rid of high school football and basketball since none of them are going to major in football in college. It is not like a math club...
Schools give scholarships all the time to kids for engaging in activities that are entirely unrelated to their major or for which course credits are not received (i.e. community service scholarships, some forms of military service scholarships, etc).
...and they do not make huge profits off this activity.
compensation unrelated to educational mission
economic activity derived
extreme control over activities undertaken
prohibition on making outside money
90%+ of D1 athletic departments do not make huge profits off this activity.
90%+ of D1 athletic departments lose money off this activity.
The football part is generally a cash factory. Athletic departments *overall* are usually in the red, but that's because football can't carry itself AND all the other sports. The work these guys do is absolutely profitable for schools.
So what do we do with non-revenue sports then? If we introduce a salary that cuts into football's profits, how do the sports that depend on football survive?
We're worried about the fallout from the ruling, not on whether the ruling was correct. If you're saying "they aren't employees because football isn't economic," that's an argument for why the ruling is incorrect. Your argument is more "the ruling may have been correct but it sucks because of what might happen." Which is a fine discussion to be had, but doesn't have anything to do with whether the board was right.
(Also, this doesn't affect non-revenue sports, and for the moment doesn't affect the revenue of the revenue sports).
are the football programs generally cach cows? For most of the BCS schools, I'd agree.
Are the football programs at the MAC schools a cash factory? What about the Mountain West conference? Boise St probably is a yes.
For 2012 in FBS:
44% of FOOTBALL teams lost money.
47% of Basketball teams lost money.
"The football part is generally a cash factory. Athletic departments *overall* are usually in the red, but that's because football can't carry itself AND all the other sports."
Most D1 FOOTBALL programs lose money.
What if they were small? Would we all be compelled to rally for the "employees" still? IMO the fact that the NCAA make huge profits is irrelevant to the principle, or if so then the argument rests on envy rather than on merit. The NCAA's profits, which BTW go back to schools and thus benefit both the athlete and non-athlete alike, (they are not being funnelled into swiss bank accounts and Hamptons mansions for the NCAA execs) are a side effect of the networks insatiable need for live entertainment, as every other program option has delivered ever lower ratings. Not on any increase in performance of the schools or players, in fact, ratings are LOWER now than in the past, but rights fees go up due to the television landscape.
is a legal one. Of course kids learn, grow, and develop as people in their athletic careers. But you can say the same for a really cool job right out of college, too. I learned a HUGE amount in my first year in my current job. But I was still an employee.
"Educational" means "related to education." They tried to argue that having football players play football is, from the school's standpoint, primarily about education. Which is hilarious.
That was one of my complaints about Northwestern's arguments in the case; they were incredibly focused on stuff that doesn't MATTER from a legal standpoint. SURE you treat your kids as well as you can. Lots of bosses do that. SURE you care about their well-being. My boss does that. SURE the kids geniunely enjoyed playing and got a lot out of the experience. Lots of people like their jobs.
They argued the general conversation about athletics, not the specifics of what it means to be an employee. Which is one of the reasons they lost so bad.
badly before any arguments were made because the arbiter of the decision is first and foremost a promoter and defender of labor. I'm fairly confident there is no argument NU could have made that would have mitigated the decisions.
the NLRB is no more (or less) political than other governmental institutions--and those unfriendly to labor rights get to appoint the Board and staff the NLRB as often as those who may be friendly.
has a majority composition that favors (no politics) a certain philisophical POV that tends to side with labor and regards corporate entities as typically "getting away" with what they can in orfer to take advantage of labor. While that side is equally as legitimate as another side that tends to favor business over labor, we can't ignore what guides the decision (and admittedely, the reaction of people including myself)
I think the word he left out is "primarily" educational.
Do you learn things in the course of playing sports that you wouldn't learn elsewhere? Of course. You also learn things flipping pizza or waiting tables that you wouldn't learn in class, but that doesn't mean a student's side-job isn't by nature economic.
Is the primary purpose of the University of Michigan carrying a football team to teach life lessons to those students who choose to pursue football as an activity? Of course not. The university carries IM sports for that purpose, but the varsity team is a multi-million dollar business that is operated for primarily economic reasons.
And though I think it may have been in jest, the point above about a football degree is probably a valid one. Given the NFL is a billion dollar business, and coaching at high school and college levels is certainly a profession, a degree in "Football" or even Sports Education would be valid.
If universities offered this, does that make the argument valid? Then you could certainly argue that sports are primarily educational. Those who don't want that degree can double-major. I'm sure the "primarily" part gets tied into the billions the sports are generating at the moment, but would be interesting if that was an approach the schools could take. Not sure M would do so.
We offer a physical education degree through kinesiology. I have a buddy who was on the baseball team who was a phys ed major and is now a gym teacher slash baseball coach. I'm sure he would argue that his time on the baseball team tought him a whole lot that he uses is his job on a daily basis.
Just FYI the PE major has been dropped and is no longer a part of the School of Kinesiology.
A similar program was created, but it is not an education program (from my understanding)
There is no physical education program on campus at all after this year.
The obviousness of offering a "degree in football" makes me really wonder why no university has done this yet. Classes on nutrition, self-promotion, how to work with an agent, how manage your money such that a 3-5 year pro career can sustain you financially for a much longer period of time, how to parley your pro career into a post-football career coaching, in broadcast, etc... there are so many things that could usefully be taught to football players (or revenue sport players in general) that could legitimately be justified as in the true educational interest of the 'student athlete,' and that really do prepare such individuals for life after college. What is the downside here for the university?
For example, you can get a Bachelor of Music in "performance", studying under a Professor of Violin. How is football different?
Because there is no accrediting board for sports performance degrees.
...there was no accrediting board for music performance degrees either.
If schools want to do it, it can be done.
The main accrediting board for music schools was founded in 1924 which is in the same time span as accreditation was becoming widespread.
There are two options for Michigan to offer a degree in football in the current landscape:
Yes, the football schools could band together and form an accreditation board for Sports Performance. But it would have to get approved by the Department of Education so it's not like it would necessarily be automatic.
Is the primary purpose of the University of Michigan carrying a football team to teach life lessons to those students who choose to pursue football as an activity?
"Primarily" doesn't modify the importance of the purpose relative to other purposes of the University. It's relative to other purposes of having sports at the school.
The primary purpose of Wittenberg isn't physical education either, but there isn't any doubt whatsoever that the primary purpose of sports there is educational. They take the physical education of their students seriously, and it's really pretty much all the school gets out of having an athletic program. There's no revenue stream, not a lot of attention.
I don't think your point is wrong, but it's mis-stated in a way that I think matters a lot to the broader argument. D1 revenue sports is a completely different animal than D3 and at some point we're going to have to figure out where to draw the line between the two.
I'd agree that it's not that bad of an argument, but I don't agree with it.
Just because you learn from an activity at the school, does that make it part of your formal education at the school? If it does, then is there anything I can do for a university while I'm a student that can be considered employment? If I learned about hard work by serving meals in the cafeteria, am I just a student-cook and not an employee?
Most would agree that there is much to be learned about life through sports. The stretch comes when trying to say that those lessons are part of your degree.
I think it is clear that the largely fictional concept of balanced presentation of issues or information in the media is not expected in blogs.
You have been following this blog as long (or longer) than me. Bloggers have no problem expressing their opposition to ideas or information presented by Brian, Seth, Ace, BiSB, Brandon, et al. I think BiSB writes a great piece precisely because of his bias.
I hope that a diarist, commenter, or someone else on Brian's team writes a companion piece expressing the opposing view in a manner that is as cogent and passionate. Isn't that ultimately the best approach?
[EDIT: This is meant as a reply to BODOGBLOG way the hell at the top of this string.]
But this is an issue that many people believe they understand, but probably do not. A legal examnination of the arguments without the biased hyperbole (fisking! Key&Peele lol that's so funny) would have been appreciated.
BTW, lol at the idea of someone else on this team writing an opposing view. Yes I've been on the blog for a while, the sports content (when not full-on emo) is outstanding, and some of the commenters are as good as the bloggers (where they haven't been kicked off the site). But this topic walks a tangent to the political, and there is lockstep unison there. Look at the derision by which BISB, Brian, and Seth look upon dissenters... even if those three along with Ace didn't make up 90% of the blog, you couldn't expect anyone to stand against that and suggest a counterpoint.
Maybe they're all correct and right and virtuous on this issue. Maybe their solutions are the only ones that merit consideration without ridicule. Or maybe the blog has become self-confirming and one-sided. Ridiculing your opponent is often the sign of weak arguments, and I don't think Brian et al realize they are becoming the bully kicking sand in everyone's face (to steal a theme from Brian's excellent game column this week).
And no, I don't think the idea of information without bias is fictional. I have conversations with people frequently in which personal views are set aside and the facts debated. This is reason. And it's not unreasonable to expect that from time to time.
My comment was that I think a balanced presentation of information and opinion IN THE MEDIA is largely fictional. I routinely read the WSJ, NYT, and Washington Post and they approach the same issue or stories with considerable bias. I profess to prefering NPR and PBS Newshour, but both of these programs are accused of significant bias (although they look balanced to me compared with Fox, CNN, or MSNBC).
The Socratic method often starts with polemical views passionately expressed by their champions. It is only after reasonable discourse that reason is revealed.
Understood on your point. I read many of the same, and I omit bias (or try to) from those same sources. I still wish they were less so.
Maybe it's a matter of stages, because I'm fine with the Socratic method. But one would hope that before each champion took up their particular view, they observed the facts and made a decision on which side they fell. Perhaps what I'm not understanding is BISB has done so, and by reading his piece I'm leaping in several paces down the road. I have not seen all the facts nor do I understand the legal fundamentals, so I haven't been able to decide yet.
Even if we assume the Socratic method, what we're left with here is one side shouting into a packed courtroom, with no response from opponent. It's not very compelling, if you assume we are the jury. Already in this thread there have been counter-arguments made against this process. I'd be very interested in reading a piece from NW's lawyers or someone of like mind. But again, my time is limited. It would be helpful if that view were already presented here.
write the "opposing view". Nothing stops you or anyone else. It will be published on this site. Though I believe that you just did.
The fact that Brian, Ace, BiSB and others may have similar views on this issue (or others) may be because they have a symbiotic connection, which is why they came together on this site--or it may simply be because they have the better arguments on their side on this issue.
But this site has no responsibility to staff an opposing viewpoint (parenthetically, do all issues deserve an opposing viewpoint--no matter how specious?)
but not as simple as it seems. I don't have time to delve into these issues, the resource of me is consumed in other affairs. This is why I come to media outlets, so that I can get summarized topics, facts, and insight. If I feel like that insight is being clouded by biased worldviews, I have the ability to make that opinion known. The proprieter of the site is free to ignore, tell me to GTFO, or consider if I may have a point.
Not every piece has to be unbiased, but for topics like these - where so much of the information is misunderstood (by myself especially) - it's a helpful starting point.
Than any bias. If BISB thinks things that walk like a duck, quack like a duck, and swim like a duck are ducks, I don't think presenting it in a softer sense shows he's being "unbiased."
The tone may turn you off, but he's not shading facts -- he's addressing them head on and reaching the only logical conclusion he thinks one can.
Bias is more, "BISB wants NU football players to unionize because of Y, so he's shading his arguments by cherry-picking some facts to support X." Here, BISB is laying out facts 1, 2, and 3, and saying he's not sure how anyone can add those up and reach anything but 6.
Out of everyone who draws an MGoBlog paycheck I couldn't find anyone who has a significantly different view from Bryan (BiSB). I didn't ask the photographers though.
I don't think an opposing viewpoint in this case needs front billing because there isn't a good case to be made. Sometimes there's one side of a debate that is way more correct. I despise the sentiment of things being "my" opinion or "yours." There's one reality and we should strive to have our opinions most closely match it based on available evidence and logic.
Perhaps they would prefer not tell you, fearing derision.
Perhaps the staff lacks diversity in viewpoint.
Perhaps you are all correct and there is no reason for an opposing view.
In some cases I agree there is one reality, but in most I do not. Whether this one is, is debatable.