NLRB Rules College Athletes Are ‘Employees’
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Chicago office has issued a decision supporting Northwestern University football scholarship players’ efforts to form a union, concluding that in addition to their student status, they are also employees of the university. This means they are entitled to hold an election to unionize, and if the vote succeeds, negotiate over “terms and conditions” of their employment.
The Board has ordered an election be held. The written decision presents a detailed, fascinating portrayal of the highly regimented and exhausting work/play/study life of student athletes, the carefully crafted recruiting/management strategy of the university’s athletic and academic staff, and the significant role big money plays in this legal dispute.
Where is the world of revenue-driven highly competitive big time college sports headed? This decision is almost certain to be appealed, so stay tuned for further developments.
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