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Friday, April 19, 2024
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Five Pro Sports Unions Endorse College Athlete Employment

  • The MLBPA, NFLPA, NBPA, NHLPA, and MLSPA have all endorsed college athlete employment.
  • It’s the first time the labor unions have formally weighed in on the controversy.
Five professional sports labor unions have endorse college athletes becoming employees.
Josh Morgan/USA TODAY

While these labor unions are now taking a position on NCAA athlete employment, they have so far had no involvement in organizing or advocating for the cause.

Five professional sports labor unions now endorse the idea of college athletes becoming employees — and being allowed to unionize. 

On Wednesday, Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) reintroduced the “College Athletes Right to Organize Act,” a bill that would recognize college athletes who receive school benefits like scholarships as employees under the National Labor Relations Act. Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) also introduced a companion bill in the House.

Their announcement included endorsements from the players associations of MLB, MLS, the NBA, the NFL and the NHL. 

“Collective bargaining has immeasurably benefitted the workers we represent and professional sports as a whole,” the five unions said in a joint statement. “The same result is achievable at the collegiate level, and we applaud Sen. Murphy for his continued efforts in support of organizing and collective bargaining.”

While these labor unions are now taking a position on NCAA athlete employment, they have so far had no involvement in organizing or advocating for the cause. Separate organizations, like the National College Players Association and the College Football Players Association, have largely spearheaded those efforts.

The bill from Murphy and Sanders is one of several introduced in Congress over athlete compensation, from name, image, and likeness regulation to employment status. 

The NCAA has been engaged in a major lobbying campaign to prevent the codification of athletes as employees and has spent millions in federal court fighting lawsuits with similar goals.

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