According to CNN, the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago has approved the notion that Northwestern University Football players are “employees” of the University and can therefore unionize.
With this decision, Northwestern University’s football team can ultimately change the outlook of college sports forever. Though many people support athletes to make similar moves as Northwestern’s football team, many people are also opposed.
[Excerpt from Henry Bienen via CNN]
“If we got into collective bargaining situations, I would not take for granted that the Northwesterns of the world would continue to play Division I sports.
“In the 1950s, the ‘Ivies’ had some of the highest-ranked football teams in the country. The Princeton teams were ranked in the top 5 or 10 at that time. They continue periodically to have ranked basketball teams, but they’ve given up a certain kind of model of sports,” he said, adding that “under certain conditions” the same could happen at other private elite universities that “continue to play big time sports.”
CNN further reports that an appeal of this decision by the National Labor Relations Board could take many years to appeal. In fact, this decision could go to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.
During his testimony, Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter made claims of how he and his teammates were athletes first, not students. Colter further stated that he and his peers worked endlessly 50 hours a week devoted to solely football. Moreover, that because of his devotion to football, Kain Colter had to drop his aspirations of becoming a doctor.
In what can be a monumental shift for all of collegiate sports, P.O.S. supports student athletes in their endeavor to unionize. We hope more relation boards will see the imperative need to intervene between the current system that takes advantage of athletes’ times and talent.