The sound of ice cracking beneath the NCAA’s feet

Hey, look — the NLRB is messing with Northwestern again.

In an unprecedented foray into college sports, the National Labor Relations Board has declared that Northwestern University must eliminate “unlawful” rules governing football players and allow them greater freedom to express themselves. The ruling, which referred to players as employees, found that they must be freely allowed to post on social media, discuss issues of their health and safety, and speak with the media.

The new rules apply to the football programs at the 17 private universities that play in the FBS, including schools such as Notre Dame, Stanford and Baylor — but not public universities. As the nation’s top labor agency, the NLRB governs relations between private employers and their employees, so it has no power over public schools. Its findings on Northwestern became public on Friday in response to an Freedom of Information Act request.

Here’s the reason the schools and the NCAA will be shitting bricks:

In addition to granting players greater freedoms, the NLRB ruling will offer athletes a clear path to bring their issues before an independent agency outside of the organizations that have historically governed college athletics — the universities, the conferences and the NCAA.

So while this ruling did not address compensation for athletes, someone could now file a charge with the NLRB asserting that failing to pay players constitutes an unfair labor practice. After all, if the NLRB — which is led by a five-person board and a general counsel, all appointed by the president — declared that close monitoring of social media is an unfair labor practice, it is an open question how it would view failure to pay players. Until now, the issue has been contested only in antitrust courts.

Meaning that an antitrust exemption wouldn’t save them here.

Then again, I guess they could just kick every private school out of the NCAA.



Filed under It's Just Bidness, Look For The Union Label

17 responses to “The sound of ice cracking beneath the NCAA’s feet

  1. Normaltown Mike

    How does this effect Auburn?


  2. The other Doug

    Is there a sister government committee that oversees government labor?


  3. Hogbody Spradlin

    Doesn’t the NLRB have more genuine labor issues to attend to?


  4. AusDawg85

    Chip Kelly finds a way to save his job at Notre Dame by hiring semi-pro players.


  5. 69Dawg

    Seems the law of unintended consequences will be at work. The private schools can now treat their players as employees and that could give them a competitive advantage. Could the NCAA, would the NCAA kick the flagship football program out if they do pay for play? This sh*t is going to get real now. This includes such storied programs as Wake Forest, and Vanderbilt. Hell the academic average for the SEC and ACC will fall off a cliff.


    • Napoleon BonerFart

      You might see that kind of creativity at Auburn or Notre Dame. But I doubt you’ll see it at Vandy or Wake Forest. Hell, if UGA has refused to push the envelope on NCAA rules, I would be shocked to see Vandy doing it.


  6. Yet more government control/meddling bullshit. How about working on reducing the national debt instead?


  7. lakedawg

    Hope we are not seeing the end of college football.


  8. Cosmic Dawg

    Government nobly stepping in to fix a problem it created.


  9. AthensHomerDawg

    Couldn’t Obama fix this whole mess with some kinda executive order?