Labor lawyer says college football players should bargain for employee rights, protections
- Football players at private colleges and universities may have legal claim to collectively bargain for better facilities and compensation as school employees, says a lawyer for the National Labor Relations Board in a recent memo written to its regional directors.
- The New York Times reports that the memo offers no changes to the NCAA's guidelines on amateurism for college athletes, and does not allow for athletes to unionize as employees. However, the legal opinion does echo similar claims granted to graduate students at private schools in 2016.
- Membership on the NLRB board is expected to change under the new presidential administration and will likely adopt philosophies which may not support unionization for student-athletes.
The recent memo from the NLRB could be a last-ditch effort from an Obama-appointed board to thrust its opinion on collective bargaining at college campuses into the spotlight. But college leaders should expect similar claims to decrease under new board leadership, and to worry less about what the potential costs could be in benefits and compensation for short-term employment agreements for graduate students.
Campuses should continue to plan for potential changes on issues like overtime pay and collective bargaining, but expect outcomes that will better suit their bottom line and provide the opportunity to publicly explain how the savings will benefit student access and support for full-time faculty.