The NCAA has established a system through which universities profit tremendously from the athletic careers of student athletes, yet athletes' scholarships do not cover the full cost of attendance., With no guarantee of scholarship retention, young men and women commit long hours to athletic programs, risking both bodily injury and career aspirations. For years, nothing was done to improve conditions for student athletes. Recently, however, both current and former student athletes have begun campaigning for expanded student athletes' rights. In 2013, the Northwestern University football team sought to unionize to gain collective bargaining rights and secure safer and more favorable conditions for student athletes.
This Comment initially discusses, the current student athlete unionization movement, which has been led by Kain Colter and Ramogi Huma since 2013. Next, this Comment examines the path of the movement, which began with discussions and protests and moved to the National Labor Relations Board's Chicago Regional Office. After providing a description of the fallout resulting from a Regional decision in the Northwestern University football team's favor, this Comment analyzes the National Labor Relations Board's refusal to assert jurisdiction in the case, preventing the team from unionizing and gaining collective bargaining rights. This Comment then evaluates the options remaining for student athletes who wish to unionize. Finally, this Comment recommends that Colter and Huma end their current bid to unionize, due to the beneficial reforms that have been made in the NCAA since the movement began.
George J. Bivens,
NCAA Student Athlete Unionization: NLRB Punts on Northwestern University Football Team,
Dick. L. Rev.
Available at: https://ideas.dickinsonlaw.psu.edu/dlra/vol121/iss3/9