EVANSTON, Ill. (WLFI) – There was news announced Wednesday that could change the landscape of college athletics.
Several weeks ago a group of Northwestern football players petitioned to the National Labor Relations Board to unionize. Wednesday, that Board ruled that in favor of the players.
- RELATED: View the board’s ruling
Northwestern acknowledged the ruling and said it plans to appeal. The university fought the petition saying that the “players are students of the university, not employees.”
However, the board’s decision indicates that there was enough evidence presented that the athletes are employees of the university — getting paid in the form of scholarships, working between 20 and 50 hours per week and generating millions of dollars for their institutions.
The NCAA said it is “disappointed” by the ruling, and that student athletes play “for the love of their sport, not to be paid.”
“We want student-athletes — 99 percent of whom will never make it to the professional leagues — focused on what matters most — finding success in the classroom, on the field and in life,” said NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy to CNN.
CNN also reports that Richard Epstein, labor law professor at New York University, said the ruling has “vast implications for the structure of the sport, if upheld.”
An appeal by Northwestern could go as far as the U.S. Supreme Court and would likely take years, so do not expect a resolution any time soon.