Wednesday, April 16, 2014

More on college athletes as employees

Worker at UCLA gets orders from his supervisor
We have previously blogged about a recent NLRB decision holding that college/university athletes are effectively employees entitled to unionization.  Although that decision arose from a case at Northwestern U (football), a former UCLA athlete has been prominently pushing the unionization idea.

An interesting article in today's Inside Higher Ed suggests that there may be more chiseling away at the idea of college athletes as just students.  As everyone knows, there is big money in college athletics - including at UCLA - at least in some sports.  The athlete-as-employee model could drastically change the business model in such sports.

Basically, the article raises the idea that athletes are employees effectively and that colleges and universities are engaged in antitrust violations, conspiring to hold down their pay.

You can find the article at

"(A)n even bigger case (than the NLRB case) may be ready to unfold in a federal courtroom in New Jersey in the coming months, in the form of a lawsuit by a leading antitrust lawyer seeking to create a free market for how college athletes are compensated.  Jeffrey Kessler has a track record in the world of sports antitrust law that few can match, with major victories on behalf of the National Football League and National Basketball Association players' associations, among others. Now he’s turning his attention to the collegiate level. That’s because it’s hard to distinguish big-time college football and basketball, he says, from their professional counterparts... Kessler’s goal is simple: to have a court strike down as an illegal restraint on trade the restrictions that the NCAA and five member conferences collectively impose on what he views as the compensation of college athletes, in the form of their athletic scholarships."

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