NLRB rules Northwestern players can't form unions
The National Labor Relations Board denied Northwestern players’ attempt to unionize, Bloomberg News reported on Monday.
The unanimous decision denied a movement started from former Northwestern player Kain Colter, who is the co-founder of the College Athletes Players Association. The ruling overturned a 2014 decision, which said that as employees of Northwestern University, college athletes had a right to unionize.
According to Bloomberg, the board would not declare whether or not players were employees of the university.
While the ruling prevents an immediate shift in the landscape of college athletics, the “athletes as employees” discussion is tabled, according to sports law expert Michael McCann.
NLRB declining to recognize Northwestern as employees doesn't end the debate since NLRB didn't rule on the merits of the players' arguments.
— Michael McCann (@McCannSportsLaw) August 17, 2015
Northwestern players will not be allowed to appeal the ruling to unionize.
Here’s what Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said in a statement released by the university.
“Our young men chose to attend Northwestern to compete on the field at the highest level, earn a world-class education and prepare for the rest of their lives. They have displayed maturity beyond their years through this process, and the experience has unquestionably brought us closer together as a football family. This group posted the highest cumulative GPA in program history during the 2014-15 academic year, earned a record 38 Academic All-Big Ten honors last season and is excited to return to the field this fall to play the game they love and compete for a Big Ten championship.”