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College Football Players Have Right To Form A Union, NLRB Rules

Publication Date: 
March 26, 2014
Los Angeles Times
Gary Klein

Professor William B. Gould weighs in with why the NLRB ruling allowing college athletes to unionize will be "good for student-athletes" with Gary Klein in the Los Angeles Times.

Northwestern University football players have the right to form a union, a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board ruled Wednesday, setting the stage for potential dramatic change to the college sports landscape.

Peter Sung Ohr, in Chicago, ruled that "players receiving scholarships from the employer are 'employees'" and ordered that an election be conducted to determine whether Northwestern players wanted representation by the College Athletes Players Assn. for the purposes of collective bargaining.


William B. Gould IV, a professor emeritus at the Stanford University Law School and a former chairman of the NLRB, said the decision was "by no means a surprise" and that it could wind its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"One upshot of this decision is, whatever happens, this is going to be good for student-athletes," Gould said in a phone interview. "They will be treated more cautiously and generously than in the past."