NLRB rules that Northwestern University football players are employees

March 29, 2014

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Good afternoon:

Peter Sung Ohr, the Regional Director for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a Decision in 13-RC-121359 finding that Grant-in-aid scholarship football players enrolled at Northwestern University qualify as employees under the NLRA given the amount of revenue they generate for the university and time they spend on football related activities as opposed to student activities. Therefore, he has issued an order directing that an election take place.

His decision has caused a lot of controversy primarily from people who cling to the quaint idea that athletes on scholarships are student athletes and amateurs, not professionals.

Football teams for Division I universities generate millions of dollars in revenues for their respective universities. The players who devote so much of their time to football that they have little time to do anything else. They also risk serious injury every time they play in a game. Since the NCAA prohibits paying the players, the universities get to keep most of the money that the players generate.

There is something fundamentally unfair about that arrangement and it’s long past time to abandon the requirement that Division I football players must remain amateurs in order to continue to play for their teams.

What do you think?

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