FanPost

Ruling Allows Northwestern Football Players to Form a Union

The lion's share of recent posts have focused on the UCLA-Florida game, as they should, but an important ruling was made Wednesday by a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board, and I wanted to bring it to the attention of BN readers.

Since we have an abundance of lawyers who post on Bruins Nation, I'll step aside in favor of their expertise and analysis, but I want to sum up the ruling as I understand it.

To start with, a group of football players at Northwestern, led by quarterback Kain Colter, wanted to collectively bargain with the school. And in petitioning the NLRB, Colter claimed "he works between 40 and 50 hours per week, whereas NCAA rules limit the amount of time that student athletes can devote to sports to either 20 hours during the season or eight hours during the off-season."

The players' claims were upheld, at least initially, and the ruling will be appealed to the NLRB in Washington, D.C. What interested me, among other things, was the speculation that if the Northwestern players ultimately prevail, "a potential gender equity issue" may follow.

And there were two other notes of importance. First, according to Michael McCann, the legal analyst for Sports Illustrated and a guest on the PBS program, this ruling, if upheld, could ultimately apply to other sports (like basketball and tennis) and second, it applies only to private universities because the National Labor Relations Act does not cover public employees.

I've avoided any comment on the case itself because, frankly, the whole idea of college athletes forming a union to bargain with their university is so startling that I'm still getting used to it. We'll have to see where it goes from here.

<em>This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.</em>

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