At their recent meeting, Big 12 coaches were talking unionization, anticipating a potential move for student football players to organize.

…The NCAA has two lawsuits on one hand and a Northwestern football team that will vote Friday on whether or not to form a union. Since the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago ruled the Northwestern players are employees, national debate has ensued and the NCAA knows it will have to change one way or another.

The NCAA is reportedly close to passing a ruling that will give the five “power conferences” more autonomy. Schools in the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC will be able to have more say in decisions like providing their student-athletes with more than the cost of admission.

Here are some of the statements from the Big 12’s coaches, according to the Associated Press.

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops on unionization:

“If they’re employees,” he said, “I guess you get to fire them, and I never want to do that to a young man.

“I look at them as part of our family in a way, and that we’re here to support them and help them in every way possible, and help guide them and help them get their education and develop them to be as good of athletes as they want to be.”

Kansas State coach Bill Snyder on student-athletes being considered employees:

“I haven’t thought about it that way,” Snyder said. “I consider them to be young men going through a stage in their life where they’re trying to formulate a foundation to be successful in life. I don’t see it any other way right now.”

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy on how his offseason would go when he was a player in the in the 1980s:

“We didn’t have near the time commitment these guys have. They put in tremendous work,” Gundy said. “It’s a choice they make. They go out on their own in the summer, they put their time in. I think it’s a great teaching tool for them in life. You’re’ only going to get out what you put into something, and these guys learn about discipline, structure and accountability.”

The coaches agreed that winning the Big 12 will all but guarantee a spot as one of the four teams chosen to play for the National Championship. It will be up to a committee, but they said they felt their conference is among the toughest in the nation.