Will college football and basketball players be given the right to unionize?

A National Labor Relations Board regional director issued a complaint alleging that the NCAA, Pac-12 Conference, and University of Southern California violated the law by classifying college football and basketball players as "non-employee student-athletes." The complaint alleged that the three entities are "joint employers" of the athletes. Article in The National Law Review, link here.

A classification of those three entities as "joint employers" may not only give the players the right unionize, it may lead to charges being brought against those entities.

"Colleges and universities may be tempted to minimize this issue by thinking that the shift to seeing student-athletes as employees would affect them only in the event their athletes attempt to form a union. That is not the case. While a Board determination that student-athletes are employees could lead to a renewed effort by college athletes to organize, the GC has already cautioned (and made good on that warning) that the Board will seek to issue unfair labor practice charges against colleges and universities that misclassify student-athletes as "non-employees" or engage in other violations of the [National Labor Relations Act]."

If this line of analysis holds, it would be a game changer for college athletics, with a requirement that these athletes, who are the centerpiece of a multi-billion dollar sports-entertainment industry, and are essentially required to participate in order to pursue their professional careers, be granted the rights of employees. Like getting paid, for example.