Skip to comments.(Northwestern) NLRB decision very well-reasoned
Posted on 03/27/2014 6:54:21 AM PDT by T-Bird45
The regional director of the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago, Peter Sung Ohr, ruled Wednesday that Northwestern University football players are university employees and entitled to an election that will determine whether they can form a union. The blockbuster ruling and Ohr's reasoning raise significant legal questions:
Q: What is the basis that college athletes are employees and entitled to form a union?
A: Ohr based his conclusion primarily on the enormous revenue and benefit that result from the efforts of the Northwestern football players and on the rigorous control that Wildcats coaches have over the lives of the scholarship athletes. The first thing that Ohr mentioned as he began to explain his decision was that Northwestern enjoyed football revenue of $235 million over the nine years between 2003 and 2012. Clearly impressed with that enormous income, Ohr explained somewhat unnecessarily that the university could use this "economic benefit" in "any manner it chose." It wasn't just the money, though, Ohr added. There is also the "great benefit" of the "immeasurable positive impact to Northwestern's reputation a winning football team may have." (Ohr did not mention NU's seven-game losing streak at the end of the past season.)
Ohr also was impressed with the hour-by-hour, day-by-day control that the coaching staff has over players' lives. He devoted more than 10 pages of his 24-page opinion to a detailed description of practice schedules, workout requirements and coaches' supervision, including approval of living arrangements, registration of automobiles, control of the use of social media (a player must be connected to a coach), dress codes, restrictions on off-campus travel and demanding study schedules. It was the kind of control, Ohr concluded, that an employer has over an employee, not the kind of control a school has over a student.
(Excerpt) Read more at espn.go.com ...
If Northwestern never wins another game, I would be a happy person. This is a joke.
Title 9 non revenue women sports are going to be funded by who? Lester
What next Olympics to be Unionize.
A Football player doesn't have to play College Sports.
Mixed feelings here... some college athletes are just that; others are clearly there for professional apprentice-ship.
I can see some funny things happening as the union gears up. Who is the rep? Is he a player or a labor pro? What happens to on-the-job seniority? Grievances with the coach (and team discipline)?
Actually, I think it is a failure of logic. The entire program is run by employees who find the appropriate talent, recruit them, train them, etc. The football players themselves are consumers of the program, not employees of the program. The program would continue whether those football players were there or not.
It was almost entirely a ruling based upon the ‘intern/employee’ test; another dip into the world of irrational thinking. But you could use the exact same rationality to unionize all college students.
All private schools that pay their players will be in violation of NCAA rules. This means YOU Notre Dame.
FR readers should be unionized.
Just like college football players pay room, board, tuition... Likewise FReepers pay monthlies, fundraisers, electricity, PC maintenance, occasional new keyboards...
While I do agree that universities make money off of what these players do for the program, many of them are getting paid by having their room and board covered by the way of scholarship.
No one is making these guys play football. You know what you are getting into when you play football. It’s a lot of work, but you know that going in. If the university is going to pay these guys to play, then they should NOT be paying for their education.
The ex-QB mouthpiece for this ‘movement’ is an Obama wannabe; a community organizer type who sees political office and/or the juicy salary of a newly-minted (pun intentional) union kingpin much preferable to actual work.
He’s already got the methodology down - forget actual community sentiment and instead use the terminally biased courts as a battering ram.
Sorry, Lester Munson is a lightweight moron. Over the years, he has continually commented on stuff he hasn’t even read. Such a bad habit for a “legal expert”.
1. Each student athlete knows what they're getting into and do so voluntarily.
2. It's a small price to pay for the privilege of playing college sports and getting a college education.
3. The best college sports programs are more than just playing sports - they're about building character into men and women - thus the necessity of the control.
4. Even though football (and college sports in general) bring in a lot of money, very few college sports programs are self-sufficient. This ruling will mean that none will be, so game tickets and tuition will have to increase.
5. I don't see any way this can be good for college sports.
Well then, the scholarships are salaries which are subject to state, fed and local taxes.
It’s an excellent analysis, in the sense of “since the sky is orange with green stripes...” style.
If they want a union then effective immediately these whiners will start paying for room, board, books, tuition, basically everything they are getting for free because they are “playing” football.
Or, effective immediately Football becomes a “Club Sport.” All volunteer walk on’s only will play.
Or, new starting college football salary a year is now say $60,000 - Tuition is $50,000, room, board, books $12,000 - Pay up chump, you now owe the university money.
Oh and by the way, we will reinstate the 3.0 GPA to play rule, so by God don’t dare let your GPA dip below a 3.0 or we will now cut your dumb arse and turn you over to the bill collection agencies. You wanna play hard ball, lets really play hard ball boys.
Otherwise I would suggest you all STFU and enjoy your free ride, free education, and the opportunity to get it all free for “playing” a game with no debt at the end of your four years. If you don’t like them apples how about $22,000 a year to be an enlisted man in Afghanistan “for real,” not playing a game. Still think you got it bad?
This is really a first world problem isn’t it?
Actually, a lot of scholarships are considered income, and the schools send out 1099s. Most of that income is not considered taxable, but I believe some kinds of scholarships are.
Who would want to be a coach in this setting?
The reason there is so much oversight by coaches is that the NCAA rules demand compliance and oversight is the only mechanism. I am certain the “car registration” thing came-up because a player broke a rule and the program was punished. “Hey... New rule, guys!”
The other controls are to meet academic compliance (with NCAA rules), and, of course, if you want ot WIN this is the workout/practice schedule.
I can hear it now, “Jones, take the field!” Jones, “Can’t coach. I’ve played in the last series. Shop Rules say you need to put in Smith.”
Eh....it’s Northwestern. You could get credits there for watching people use sex toys.
Right now, under IRS guidelines, the value of their tuition is NOT taxable...they must report the value of their room and board, and small stipend, but they end up paying no taxes on the amount.
HOWEVER...if they are employees, then they will have to report, and pay taxes, on the value of their tuition.
OK...let's say it's $40,000..that's gonna give them phantom income, and a REAL tax bill, say of about $10k. OUCH!!! Who's got that scratch? Can't have it both ways..
The schools have whored themselves out to TV money and fame. Now they’re getting called on it. Note that this would only involve Division I schools. Division II and III schools, who really do put the “scholar” in “scholar-athlete” first are unaffected. Dump athletic tuition waivers (I refuse to call them “scholarships” since there is no actual scholarship involved) and this problem goes away. So do coaches making $1,000,000 a year, of course, and the NFL and NBA have to create their own minor leagues (like baseball and hockey), but too bad for them.
I wonder if this will cause any schools to drop from Division I to Division II or III?
This wasn’t Northwestern’s idea; they’re fighting it. Why don’t you blame the former player(s) who came up with it.
The “employees” might be shocked when they get their W2s.
For many, a scholarship means the difference of the college experience or not.
Many will have a hard time paying the taxes and would have to forgo college to pay off their debt to IRS.
You actually just explained why people would want to coach MORE in this setting. NCAA rules are idiotic and force coaches to do a lot of extra work that results in nothing on the field. When this results in the death of the NCAA coaches will no longer be forced to waste time making sure their players didn’t trade autographs for haircuts.
The NCAA is on its death bed, and their rules demanding players get no compensation, and the way they enforce it frequently vacating wins and punishing players and coaches that weren’t even involved with bowl bans, will kill it. That’s why the super conferences are forming, and players getting a footing to demand some level of compensation puts another nail in the NCAA’s coffin.
If this applied to football players, wouldn’t it also apply to all other sports at a college? If it did, pretty much every college would drop all sports. The cost would be prohibitive.
Not every player on a D1 Footbal1/Basketball team is there on scholarship. Some are true walk-ons happy to participate. If they are subject to all the same rules as every scholarship athlete AND are part of revenue generation will they now have to be compensated some way equal to a scholarship?
In addition, for many this would translate into 'family income' and daddy dear might just be popped into a very high tax bracket or lose his Obamacare subsidy or his food stamps or , you name it.!
Walk ons would be scabs.
I am not versed in that aspect but I would think that if they are considered employees and their scholarships are considered payment for employment then it should be subject to income taxes.
Scholarships are “grants-in-aid” and specifically addressed as non-taxable by the IRS already. This changes nothing in that respect.
The leader of the effort, the former NW QB, specifically denies that it was about “pay for play” and was about working conditions.
When a ‘student scholarship’ requires more time and success on football than in the classroom, then he is an employee. I’ll go with that.
“If Northwestern never wins another game, I would be a happy person. This is a joke.”
I don’t think its a joke. I do think this will wind up at the Supreme Court. But, however this plays out, college football , along with the concussion issue, will be going through some challenges over the next decade or so.
It’s my guess that should the Northwestern lawsuit prevail I think it spells the demise of college football as we know it. This current lawsuit would only apply to private schools but should it win at the Supremes I’m guessing there will be a lawsuit in behalf of player eat public schools. I see in my crystal ball that college sports will evolve into club teams much the same as in Europe. And, the NFL will form minor league divisions similar to MLB. But, who knows, one thing for sure this will get real messy if it’s not slapped down - soon....
Too b ad pro teams don’t oversee their players better and cut out the hoodrat behavior and such. If they did I might still watch them.
I am saying that if they want to be considered employees then their scholarships should be considered income from employment and taxed accordingly.
Coal miners strike for "working conditions"....
You are correct. The scholarship is income if the athlete is an employee, and not just a paying customer, a student. A scholarship is like a sale price on an item if a student. Now if the athlete never sets foot in a classroom, ever, then the athlete will be taxed only on wages. But if he attends classes, the value of the education should be taxable. But we all know is that federal and local politicians, also known as hacks, will make sure everyone is taking care of. Because the universities is where many hacks go to feed at the trough upon retirement from politics. Thus they will make sure everybody is happy.
As for this dispute, my view as a former college athlete is that there are college athletes and then there are those who are not really collegians, they are just there to play a sport. Many are exploited, and get a raw deal. A starter at Alabama who doesn't go to class much and is not quite good enough for the NFL doesn't get the education end of the bargain and doesn't get the shot at the pros either. He may have back and knee problems that will start haunting him in his 40s and cause an early retirement and early death. That kind of player, which is a substantial part of the division 1 football and basketball players, should be able to get more of the huge revenues that are generated by his school's program. In my, free-market oriented, opinion.
Of course, the current system of big-time college sports is a sham anyway. It is not Syracuse or USC or Purdue playing another team, it is just a group of non-students brought to that school to compete against another team's non-students. They bring in someone who could not get into the school in normal circumstances, and the athletes often attend special classes set up for athletes, with professors who pass them if they show up, and they get a degree that is worthless at the end.
If it were up to me, college sports would be played by people already in the school for academic reasons. Dumb schools would generally be better than smart schools. Fine. Ivys can play each other; big state schools can play each other if they want. No one gets anything for playing a sport; they do it if they want to as recreation once they get to college. Meanwhile, the people who are not that interested in school can play in minor leagues and not have to pretend to go to school. They can make money and support themselves and work on their game for 2,3 or 6 years while they try to make the pros. The NFL would hate this (they would have to fund a minor league system), and the sports networks would hate this, so it will never happen. But I still don't understand why people care about a school team when what they are really rooting for is the ability of a school to convince 17 year old disadvantaged youngsters to go to their school and play for them for free, even though they are not going to get an education.
These stories have so many "unintended consequences" it's mindboggling. It will be interesting to see how this pans out across the private/public college spectrum.
Lester Munson is a POS Union shill. The Right to Work States will tell them to go to hell.
Im assuming this means the NCAA will now have to give up their non-profit status, right?
How many union non profits are there?
You agree with the administrative law judge then since that was his basic conclusion?
I don’t disagree.
This means that the players will be taxed on the value of their scholarships and the room and board and other perks.
If the players are employees, then everything they “earn” is subject to income taxes.