College football team's efforts to unionize could change face of sports

Crowe’s Leonard Court discusses attenpts to unionize college football at Northwestern University.
by Paula Burkes Modified: February 13, 2014 at 8:00 pm •  Published: February 12, 2014
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Q&A with Leonard Court

College football team’s efforts to unionize could change sports

Q: The football team at Northwestern University petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to let the team have a federally sponsored election to see if they want to be represented by a union. What are their chances of success?

A: In order for the NLRB to grant the petition, the NLRB must decide that the players are employees of the university.

Q: What arguments do the players have on their side?

A: The players will argue that their scholarships are compensation for their services to the university. Often the value of a four-year full scholarship exceeds $100,000. The players do not play for anyone other than the university.

Q: What will the university argue?

A: The university will state that the players are student-athletes, not employees. The university will argue that the players are no different than other students who are receiving scholarships, such as band members or students on academic scholarships.

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by Paula Burkes
Reporter
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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