NLRB Opens its Doors to Protect College Football Players as Employees

On January 31, 2017, the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) released a memo which stated it believed football players at private colleges qualify as employees. The Board declined to answer this question in 2015 when they dismissed a unionization effort by players at Northwestern University, citing concerns of instability if such a decision was rendered that only pertained to private universities. However, a recent decision by the NLRB that found in favor of graduate teaching assistants challenging their status…
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Northwestern and CAPA File Opposing Reply Briefs With NLRB

In an attempt to have a regional director’s decision that Northwestern University football players are employees, the school filed a reply brief with the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) explaining that its relationship to the student athletes is not economic. Previously, the regional director Peter Sung Ohr found that under the National Labor Relations Act, the athletes receiving scholarships were “employees” and could vote to unionize.  In response, Northwestern  argued that since the school is not “in the business of football,” no “economic relationship” is…
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NLRB Ruling Allows College Football Players to Unionize — and the Ramifications Could Be Huge

A recent decision by regional director Peter Sung Ohr of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) declared that Northwestern University football players are school employees, and have the right to unionize. This move could have vast potential ramifications for academic athletics and the NCAA, two groups that have traditionally worked together to set rules for players classified as “student-athletes.” The cause was spearheaded by former Northwester quarterback Kain Colter and the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA), a union which advocates for student athletes’ rights. During…
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