Readers of this blog will recall our post on January 30 of this year, found here, regarding the effort by certain Northwestern University football players to unionize scholarship players on the team. Many pundits (including this one) predicted that even this National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) would not find that the players were employees. Wrong (at least so far)!
After a recent hearing, the Regional Director of the NLRB found that the scholarship players are, in fact, employees. The Regional Director found that the scholarship players are not “primarily students” of the university. One prediction this writer still believes will hold true — this issue will continue a reflective analysis of the primary role of major college athletics in this country. As mentioned, the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA), the union affiliated with the Steelworkers and attempting to organize the players, is targeting primarily the Division I football and basketball players. That is where the largest commercialization in college sports has occurred.
Stay tuned – more analysis (and a likely appeal of the Regional Director’s decision) to come.