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.