The National Labor Relations Board, acting on a case brought by Northwestern University athletes, has ruled that college football players qualify as employees and so have the right to unionize.
In a ruling that could revolutionize college athletics, a federal agency ruled Wednesday that college football players at Northwestern University can unionize.
The decision by a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board means it agrees football players at the Big Ten school qualify as employees under federal law and therefore can create the nation’s first college athlete’s union..
The Evanston, Ill-based university argued college athletes, as students, don’t fit in the same category as factory workers, truck drivers and other unionized workers. The school plans to appeal to labor authorities in Washington, D.C.Click here to read the decision.
“While we respect the NLRB process and the regional director’s opinion, we disagree with it,” a statement from Northwestern University read.
“Northwestern believes strongly that our student-athletes are not employees, but students. Unionization and collective bargaining are not the appropriate methods to address the concerns raised by student-athletes.”
Outgoing Wildcats quarterback Kain Colter took a leading role in establishing the College Athletes Players Association, or CAPA, which would take the lead in organizing the players. The United Steelworkers union has been footing the legal bills.