A National Labor Relations Board director in Chicago said last week that Northwestern’s football players have the right to form college sports’ first labor union, a decision that could change the $16 billion business of top-level university athletics.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association, while not a party to the NLRB action, said in a statement that it disagrees with the decision and opposes a move to “completely throw away a system that has helped literally millions of students over the past decade alone to attend college.”
The ruling said the school’s 85 scholarship football players are employees, giving them the right to representation and collective bargaining. The school has said it will appeal to the full NLRB in Washington. The decision only affects athletes at private schools and not at public universities.