Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Northwestern Football Players . . . to Unionize?

I rarely blog mid-day, but this seems worthy. The National College Players Association (NCPA) has petitioned the NLRB to form a union comprised of college athletes. They filed the petition on behalf of Northwestern's football team, including an undisclosed number of signed union cards.

As Professor Paul Secunda tweeted:
That does appear to be a problem. And one echoed by the NCAA's response:
This union-backed attempt to turn student-athletes into employees undermines the purpose of college: an education. Student-athletes are not employees, and their participation in college sports is voluntary. We stand for all student-athletes, not just those the unions want to professionalize. Many student athletes are provided scholarships and many other benefits for their participation. There is no employment relationship between the NCAA, its affiliated institutions or student-athletes. Student-athletes are not employees within any definition of the National Labor Relations Act or the Fair Labor Standards Act. We are confident the National Labor Relations Board will find in our favor, as there is no right to organize student-athletes.
The NCPA president claims an "overwhelming majority" of Northwestern's players support unionizing. It will certainly be interesting to see where this goes.