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College football players take step toward unionization, NCAA responds

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History was made today.

For the first time in the history of college athletics, athletes are asking to be represented by a union. Northwestern football players have submitted a report to the national and regional offices of the National Labor Relations Board, and the overall end game is to try and be classified as employees.

ESPN’s Outside the Lines had the report, and Northwestern QB Kain Kolter is the lead player. The movement is being shepherded by former UCLA linebacker Ramogi Huma, who is the president of the College Athletes Players Association.

CAPA’s goals aren’t solely to get the players paid; they are just asking for better medical protection, and they want fully guaranteed scholarships that cover the full cost of attendance and can’t be taken away after a career-ending injury. CAPA also wants to establish a fund that would pay players to continue their education after their eligibility expires.

The NCAA responded to the players’ union proposal, via NCAA.org.

This union-backed attempt to turn student-athletes into employees undermines the purpose of college: an education. Student-athletes are not employees, and their participation in college sports is voluntary. We stand for all student-athletes, not just those the unions want to professionalize.

Many student athletes are provided scholarships and many other benefits for their participation. There is no employment relationship between the NCAA, its affiliated institutions or student-athletes.

Student-athletes are not employees within any definition of the National Labor Relations Act or the Fair Labor Standards Act. We are confident the National Labor Relations Board will find in our favor, as there is no right to organize student-athletes.

We’ll not see any outcome for years.

Photo Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports





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Comment 1

  1. It’s appropriate that the knife that cuts the throat of all ncaa athletes be in the hand of a Chicago area university (B.Obama’s base of operation). Now entering the looting frenzy for money 1) football’s 85 scholarship athletes x 127 institutions + about 50 non-scholarship athletes x 127 institutions 2) repeat this equation for basketball 3) repeat this equation for 2 dozen other NCAA recognized sports. Repeat this equation for grant-in-aid students in hundreds of activities from choirs to science clubs to poetry groups. Repeat this equation for hundreds more Division 2 and 3 institutions. All of these students are giving up huge time commitments to make their University community what it is. All of these students buy their own health insurance. In every activity some get all college costs paid, and some get nothing. Don’t even think for a second that the US court system is going to give hoot about whether the activity has a black or red ink bottom line. We are not flirting with the death of college athletics, and whether we get a college pro team or a club team, I don’t care, I’m not watching either one