SBD/March 19, 2014/Colleges

Northwestern Reiterates Stance On Unionization Issue Ahead Of Upcoming Ruling

Northwestern Univ. in post-hearing briefs filed with the National Labor Relations Board "reiterated its stance that its student-athletes are not employees," and indicated that "even if they were, they would be 'temporary employees' and could not engage in collective bargaining," according to Alejandra Cancino of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. The briefs, pertaining to a recent unionization effort by a number of Northwestern football players, "are the equivalent of closing arguments in a court case." The NLRB Regional Dir is "expected to rule this month on whether the football players are university employees." That distinction is "significant in determining whether the players can continue fighting for union protection through the NLRB process." The Regional Dir’s decision "is likely to be appealed to the NLRB" in DC. The College Athletes Players Association argues that football "is a 'year-round gig' that includes workouts during the off-season" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/19). CAPA's NLRB brief states that a union representing NU players "would not collectively bargain 'for things that are prohibited by NCAA rules.'" CBSSPORTS.com's Dennis Dodd wrote the CAPA case "seems to be more about players' union rights rather than a big payday at the end of the rainbow." The brief "attempts to shoot down arguments from Northwestern that unionization would negatively impact non-revenue sports and NCAA football as a whole" (CBSSPORTS.com, 3/18).
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