The NLRB directly targets the term “student-athlete” of the NCAA; Addresses collective bargaining for athletes


National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo today released a great memo this could change the landscape of varsity sport even more, while triggering a more formalized “self-organization” for a selected group of Division I varsity athletes. Confirmed by the Senate in late spring, Abruzzo has “the field free to sue payroll taxes against the country’s most powerful employers, ”according to Bloomberg.

She specifically referred to the Division I programs that use the term “student-athlete”, when she argued that they were statutory employees of the institution. “The policies underlying the NLRA, the Board of Directors and the common law fully support the conclusion that some actors in academic institutions are statutory employees, who have the right to act collectively to improve their conditions of employment. employment, ”Abruzzo wrote. She referred to the action taken by Northwestern University scholarship football players in 2014

“Clearly meet the general definition of employee in subsection 2 (3) and the common law test.” Therefore, these football players, and other players in a similar situation in academic institutions, should be protected by section 7 when acting in concert to talk about their terms of employment, or to self-regulate. -organize whether or not the board certifies a bargaining unit.

Makan Delrahim, a former Deputy Attorney General at the Justice Department who drafted the Justice Department’s opinion in the Supreme Court case, was delighted to hear the news. “Considering recent events and court decisions, this is a good season for students who play college sports. The NCAA would be smart to find a way to have collective bargaining with students and at the same time find a way to have collective but fair rules of conduct that don’t violate antitrust laws, ”he told me. he says in an email.

Abruzzo further clarified that it “in appropriate cases (I) will pursue an independent violation of section 8 (a) (1) of the law when an employer wrongly classifies players at academic institutions in as student-athletes… cases involving misclassification of players at academic institutions should be referred to (this office).

The note also notes the unanimous decision of the United States Supreme Court in the NCAA vs. Alston cases, and highlighted recent attempts by college athletes to collectively advocate for safer working conditions during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020-2021, and in their protests regarding issues of racial justice initiatives both on campus and nationwide. She pointed out that the NCAA is a “for-profit company,” dismissing their argument for a protected form of “amateurism” that shields them from federal labor laws, and recent changes allowing athletes to receive additional compensation from employees. educational benefits.

“My intention in posting this memo is to help educate the public, especially players in academia, colleges and universities, athletic conferences and the NCAA, on the legal position I will take regarding the status of employee and classification errors where appropriate. Said the NLRB Advocate General.

2021 has already been a year of tumultuous change for the NCAA. Shocked by states supporting names, image and likeness legislation and the Supreme Court ruling, the organization ordered a “Constitutional Convention” for early January 2022 in the hope of decentralizing many rules and mandates from the National Office.

Based on Justice Kavanaugh’s comments alongside the ruling, it became clear that more rule-making powers needed to be “vested” in the conferences. In the race for market dominance, the Southeastern Conference was the first to add two new schools, the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma to create what many have called the first “superconference.” .

Building on their newfound autonomy, the SEC announcement this week, that would allow each campus to determine its “educational benefits” for its athletes. The University of Florida immediately announced that it would donate money for various academic achievements to all of its college athletes (not just men’s and women’s football or basketball).

Continuing instability in the Division I ecosystem is likely to make life more difficult as nearly 130 schools vie for money and prestige. Recently, the University of Houston, the University of Central Florida, Brigham Young University and the University of Cincinnati changed their membership status and joined the Big 12. More conference changes are expected in the near future. to come up.


About Author

Leave A Reply