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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NLRB Ends Northwestern Football Players’ Attempt at Unionization

A unanimous decision by the National Labor Relations Board on Monday ended the Northwestern University scholarship football players’ bid to unionize without addressing the key issue that has plagued collegiate athletics for so many years: whether college athletes are employees and entitled to such compensation. The case was brought before the five-member board for review after an NLRB regional director found that the football players who put in “more hours than ‘many undisputed full-time employees’ work” are employees and thus can unionize. According to the…
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