Right Hooks

Labor Board Declines Football Players' Attempt to Unionize

It "would not promote stability in labor relations across the league."

Dan Gilmore · Aug. 18, 2015
Photo courtesy Mlehrer, English Wikipedia

The National Labor Relations Board blocked the unionization attempt by a group of football players at Northwestern University by saying it didn’t have authority to regulate state-run schools. While Northwestern is a private school, “every school in the Big Ten, except Northwestern, is a state-run institution,” said an NLRB statement on the decision. “As the NCAA and conference maintain substantial control over individual teams, the Board held that asserting jurisdiction over a single team would not promote stability in labor relations across the league.” While this decision overrules a March 2014 decision by an NLRB regional director, it leaves the question unresolved, as the board said it might reconsider the issue in the future. It used to be that college sports were the sideshow to the pursuit of knowledge. We’ve arrived at this point because we’ve elevated college sports so much that the players are athletes first, students second. Still, if you have the physical prowess and discipline, it’s a good way to get an education in the age of skyrocketing college debt. Such an opportunity doesn’t entitle unionization.

Click here to show comments