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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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NLRB Sets Up Clash Over College Athlete Unionization, Employment

  • The National Labor Relations Board is making moves toward classifying college football and basketball players as employees.
  • A court hearing on the matter is set for November.
Tulane's Dorian Williams breaks a tackle from USC's Jacobe Covington during the 87th Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic at AT&T Stadium on Monday, January 2, 2023.
Democrat and Chronicle

Last week, college athletes took significant steps on the path toward fair compensation. 

The National Labor Relations Board targeted the NCAA, Pac-12, and USC in a complaint filed last Thursday saying that college athletes should be treated as employees.

The complaint alleged that USC’s media policies violated labor laws. The school’s handbook tells students to “smile” and “be positive” when being interviewed by the media. It also tells students not to “post anything that would embarrass USC, your team, or your family” on social media.

The legal action, which has been in the works since December 2022, sets up a court battle over the status of student athletes this November. The moves also open the door to unionization and employment status for the college football and basketball players who create the biggest media draws for their conferences.

The Big Ten led the way with $845M in 2022 revenue.

Power 5 Conferences Combined for $3.3 Billion in 2022 Revenue

The Big Ten led the way with $845M in 2022 revenue.
May 19, 2023

The Pac-12 is negotiating its next set of media deals. Its current 12-year pacts with Fox and ESPN expire next year and bring an average annual value of $250 million. USC is departing the conference for the Big Ten, along with UCLA, in 2024.

In a lengthy rebuttal to the NLRB’s complaint, the conference warned against calling student-athletes employees, saying that “a wage for their ‘services’ is antithetical to the educational relationship between the schools and all of the students who participate in the Conference’s many sports, including those who play football and basketball at USC.”

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