Breaking: Northwestern University Football Players Cannot Form a Union, NLRB Rules

Breaking: Northwestern Football Players Cannot Form a Union
–NLRB rules they are students not employees

Northwestern football players filed a petition in January 2014 demanding the school recognize the athletes as “employees.”

The National Labor Relations Board in Chicago changed the definition of employee in March of 2014 to include student-athlete.
The board decided Northwestern football players can unionize.
The players want to get paid.


Today the National Labor Relations Board unanimously ruled college football players are not employees and cannot unionize.
Bloomberg reported:

Northwestern University football players cannot form a union, the National Labor Relations Board ruled, overturning a March 2014 decision and ending the players’ bid to change the college sports landscape.

In its unanimous decision, the labor board skirted the issue of whether the players are employees and left open the door to other college athletes winning the right to unionize.

The board cited the unique nature of college sports in saying it would foster instability to permit Northwestern football players to form a union while players elsewhere in the National Collegiate Athletic Association are not.

“Our decision is primarily premised on a finding that because of the nature of sports leagues…it would not promote stability in labor relations to assert jurisdiction in this case,” the decision said.

This was the first case before the NLRB involving college athletes of any kind, and it’s the first time the board has been asked to certify a single-team unit in any sport. Of the 125 football programs in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision, the top echelon, just 17 are private schools and Northwestern is the only one in the Big Ten Conference. The NLRB only has jurisdiction over private schools, while state labor boards oversee public institutions.

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