University Appeals NLRB Ruling on Football Union

Wednesday, 09 Apr 2014 05:52 PM


  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Northwestern University appealed a decision by the National Labor Relations Board allowing the school's football team to form the first players' union in college sports.

Northwestern, based in Evanston, Ill., filed a brief Wednesday with the full NLRB in Washington, saying in a news release that the initial ruling by Chicago NLRB Regional Director Peter Sung Ohr ignored key evidence.

The players' group, known as the College Athletes Players Association, has until April 16 to file a brief in opposition to Northwestern’s appeal, which had to be lodged by Wednesday.

Ramogi Huma, the president of the players' group, didn't immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Ohr ruled March 26 that scholarship football players are employees because they are compensated and come under the university's control.

His decision, along with recent lawsuits seeking to increase college players' rights, have the potential to upend the business of college sports. Under current broadcast contracts, the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the five most powerful conferences are guaranteed more than $31 billion.

The players' group is seeking to secure guaranteed coverage of sports-related medical expenses for current and former athletes, compensation for sponsorships, a trust fund to help former players finish their degrees and an increase in athletic scholarships.

Northwestern’s brief "takes the position that the decision by the regional director improperly refused to apply the legal precedent established in the NLRB's 2004 decision in Brown University, in which the NLRB held that the graduate assistants were primarily students, not employees," the school said in its release.

"Northwestern presented overwhelming evidence establishing that its athletic program is fully integrated with its academic mission, and that it treats its athletes as students first," the university says in its brief, according to the release. "Based on the testimony of a single player, the regional director described Northwestern's football program in a way that is unrecognizable from the evidence actually presented at the hearing."

The NLRB governs the rights of private-sector employees, meaning Ohr's ruling only affects athletes at private schools. Public-school players seeking to unionize would have to gain approval from state-run labor boards.


Ohr set April 25 for a vote by Northwestern players on whether they want to be represented by a union. A majority of the 76 football players eligible to vote would be needed to form the union.

Kain Colter, Northwestern's quarterback who just completed his senior season, was the only player to testify — in support of unionization — at the Chicago NLRB hearings. Trevor Siemian, who will be the team's quarterback next season, said he will vote no on unionization, according to the Chicago Tribune.

"We filed for employee cards, but that doesn’t mean a union is the right avenue," Siemian said Wednesday, according to the Tribune. "Especially at Northwestern, where most guys on the team agree we have been treated very, very well. I'm treated here far better than I deserve."

Mark Emmert, the NCAA president, said March 30 on CBS's "Face the Nation" that the NLRB ruling eventually would be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.


The NCAA and five conferences — the Southeastern, the Atlantic Coast, the Pacific 10, the Big Ten and the Big 12 — were sued twice last month by college players looking to improve their financial standing.

A group of football players filed an antitrust suit accusing the organizations of running a cartel that generates billions of dollars while illegally capping the pay of the players.

Shawne Alston, a former West Virginia University football player, also sued, claiming the NCAA and conferences conspired to limit the value of his scholarship to less than the actual cost of attendance at the school.

© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Retype Email:
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Rick Perry Deletes 'Dos Equis' Tweet Mocking Drunk DA

Monday, 01 Sep 2014 18:09 PM

Texas Gov. Rick Perry scrambled to delete a humorous photo post on his Twitter site which, in a takeoff on the "Most Int . . .

Apple Probes Report ICloud Was Hacked to Gain Stars' Nude Photos

Monday, 01 Sep 2014 17:21 PM

Apple Inc., which is poised to unveil new iPhones next week, said it's investigating reports that hackers used its iClou . . .

Dem Rep. Larson on Congressional Recess: 'We're AWOL'

Monday, 01 Sep 2014 16:41 PM

A Democratic congressman has blasted Congress for going "AWOL" by taking its annual Fall recess, which is mandated under . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved