Northwestern helmet

Northwestern football players denied request to form a union by NLRB

The ruling that the Northwestern football players are employees of the university and have the right to unionize has been dismissed by the National Labor Relations Board on Monday. The historic ruling would have allowed the formation of the first union in college athletics.

National Labor Relations Board decided that unionization of private school players does not grant the opportunity for the players to appeal.

The NLRB released a statement explaining their decision stating that the nature and structure of the FBS would not allow fair and equal competition if a union was formed. The board does not have jurisdiction over state school which consist of 85% of schools in the FBS.

Here is a copy of the release by the NLRB:

In April 2014, a majority of 76 eligible Northwestern players voted in favor of the unionization under College Athletes Players Association (CAPA) formed in January of last year by former Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter. The vote was nullified after the NLRB’s decision to ignore the petition.

The regional director of the NLRB in Chicago, Peter Sung Ohr, filed a 24-page report in which he reasoned that players at Northwestern, under common law, were defined employees: “a person who performs services for another under a contract of hire, subject to the other’s control or right of control, and in return for payment.” Players sign a “contract” called a tender that stipulates the conditions they must abide to keep their scholarship, which is a form of “payment” while coaches exert an amount of “control” over their players’ lives.

Photographer: Jeffrey Phelps/AP Photo

Kevin Bridge

Owner at The Backfield Press
I am an undergraduate student at the University of Tennessee majoring in journalism and electronic media. I am the founder of The Backfield Press.