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Look For The Union Label

Look For The Union Label

By Jeff Wagner. CREATED Mar 27, 2014

So much for the notion of "student athletes".

Yesterday, the Chicago regional director of the National Labor Relations Board ruled that football players at Northwestern University are "employees" for the purpose of Federal employment law. This means that the athletes are entitled to unionize and then collectively bargain.

The rationale behind this decision is that the players are often recruited regardless of grades, have their daily activities closely controlled by coaches, and receive huge scholarships for which in return they generate huge revenue for the school.

For the moment the ruling, which will be appealed, applies only to private schools like Northwestern as opposed to public schools like the University of Wisconsin.

Is this the first step in turning colleges into virtual minor leagues for professional sports?  Has that happened already?  Will this ruling undermine the NCAA and put the billions it generates in revenue from college sports in jeopardy? And what will this mean for athletes who participate in non-revenue generating sports?

During the 2 p.m. hour of Thursday's radio show, we'll discuss whether we'll soon be looking for the union label when we watch college sports?

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the Comments section - and be sure to check back later to hear a replay of the segment.


Jeff Wagner

Jeff Wagner

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Jeff Wagner recently completed his 15th year as a talk show host at 620 WTMJ. Jeff's show, which airs Monday through Friday from noon to 3 p.m., features stories which you might not have heard about elsewhere and emphasizes Jeff's common sense approach to issues.