A potentially important development in college sports came on Thursday regarding a labor complaint involving USC student-athletes, specifically football and basketball players.

In February, the National Collegiate Players Association filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board against the University of Southern California regarding how football and basketball players at the university should be classified. The main sticking point was the fact that the players were identified as “student-athletes”; the NCPA felt that they should be considered employees of the university.

On Thursday, the NLRB’s Los Angeles region sided with the NCPA, according to Sportico, as it found that the players should be considered not just employees of the university, but of the Pac-12 and the NCAA, by extension:

In a statement Thursday, NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo said the region’s findings were based on a determination that the private university, the Pac-12 and the NCAA have collectively “maintained unlawful rules and unlawfully misclassified scholarship basketball and football players as mere ‘student-athletes’ rather than employees entitled to protections under our law.” …

Unless the NCPA settles the matter with USC, the Pac-12 and the NCAA—which is considered unlikely—the case would next go before an administrative law judge….The judge’s findings could then be appealed to the five-member national NLRB board.

Should the NLRB’s findings ultimately go all the way, it could equal a watershed moment for student-athletes. As Sportico’s Daniel Libit notes, though, the very fact that the NLRB is considering student-athletes both employees of both USC and the NCAA is already a massive step.

We’ll see what ultimately comes of this situation.