News Center

Elsewhere Online twitter Facebook SLS Blogs YouTube SLS Channel Linked In SLSNavigator SLS on Flickr

Unions For College Athletes A Question For NLRB

Publication Date: 
March 29, 2014
ABC News - Associated Press
Tom Raum

Professor William B. Gould weighs in on the NLRB's decision to allow college athletes to unionize and why the athletes are unlikely to find allies in the general public. 

The five-member regulatory board that will ultimately decide if Northwestern University football players can unionize has itself been in the middle of a firestorm.

The very makeup of the National Labor Relations Board has been challenged in a case now before the Supreme Court. And Republicans contend the agency has being overly friendly to organized labor.


William Gould, an emeritus Stanford law professor and former chairman of the NLRB, said the public typically isn't sympathetic toward athletes. He said historically that goes back to the days when professional athletes were organizing. "The public feels that athletes are having a nice time. They'd like to be able to play these games and get compensation for them," Gould said.

Gould said he doesn't think the public is sympathetic toward today's college athletes even when they hear of problems such as concussions.

"Look, after all, it's the public's insatiable lust for cataclysmic violence which is bound up with football and hockey that has created this," Gould said. "The owners and the universities, they'll find something that will bring people into the seats or turn the television sets on, so the public is not really focused on this."