National Labor Relations Board allows Northwestern Football unionization
March 26, 2014
On March 26, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board issued its Decision in 13-RC-121359, finding the scholarship football players of Northwestern University are employees under the National Labor Relations Act. The NLRB's decision means that Northwestern football players may hold an election to determine whether to unionize.
The NLRB's decision has far reaching implications for collegiate athletics. Although college sports have, until now, been purely amateur endeavors, employees who unionize typically do so in order to negotiate wage rates, medical insurance, and other terms and conditions of employment. It remains to be seen if Northwestern's football players will ask for monetary compensation or some other form of remuneration (in addition to their scholarships), but such an eventuality appears likely.
Northwestern has stated it will appeal the Board's decision, and has until April 9 to do so.
The NLRB's decision can be accessed at the following link: NLRB Decision.