National labor board to argue college athletes are employees

Sports

(NewsNation) — The National Labor Relations Board will investigate claims of unfair labor practices at USC, a significant step toward the recognition of college athletes as employees of their universities.

In February, the National College Players Association filed an unfair labor practice charge against USC, the Pac-12 Conference and the NCAA alleging misclassification of college players as “student-athletes” and other violations.

The NLRB’s Region 21 in Los Angeles will look into the complaint that covers football and men’s and women’s basketball players at the private school.

The labor board will argue before an administrative judge that student-athletes are employees whose rights have been violated by USC, the Pac-12 and NCAA. If the judge agrees, anybody playing men’s or women’s basketball or football at any college in the NCAA would be granted the rights of employees.

At the request of the NLRB’s Division of Advice, the players association agreed to withdraw its unfair labor practice charge against UCLA while vowing to continue its fight to gain employee status and rights for football and basketball players at public universities.

“We are working to make sure college athletes are treated fairly in both the education and business aspects of college sports,” players association executive director Ramogi Huma said in a statement. “Gaining employee status and the right to organize is an important part in ending NCAA sports’ business practices that illegally exploit college athletes’ labor.”

Angela Reddock Wright, founder and managing partner of The Reddock Law Group, said the NLRB’s decision is a “huge deal” for the future landscape of college athletics.

“This ruling takes a bold step forward to say that these student-athletes are now possibly going to be classified as employees, which means that they have all the rights an employee would have in the workplace … in this instance, the right to unionize,” Wright said Friday on “Rush Hour.”

Watch her interview above.

The Associated Press contributed to his report.

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