Biden’s labor board lays groundwork for unionization of NCAA athletes

, Spencer Irvine, Leave a comment

Under the Biden administration, there has been a re-emergence of labor strikes and settlement of labor disputes in favor of labor unions. The most recent example is an announcement by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that it will pursue charges of unfair labor practices against the NCAA, PAC-12, and University of Southern California (USC).

The NLRB directed its Los Angeles office to pursue these charges and planned on arguing that USC athletes are employees and their rights have been restricted due to the current system. The National College Players Association (NCPA) filed the claim on behalf of USC athletes.

NPCA executive director Ramogi Huma said, “Gaining employee status and the right to organize is an important part in ending NCAA sports’ business practices that illegally exploit college athletes’ labor.”

Huma previously tried to unionize athletes at the private Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, which effort ultimately failed.

However, the labor board’s decision could pave the way for any college athlete to be considered as employees and eventually form labor unions. The more labor unions form, the more money goes to the unions in the form of membership dues, which is par for the course of the union landscape under President Joe Biden. Labor unions were the backbone of Biden’s presidential campaign, and his administration’s actions demonstrate how Biden is shoring up his union supporters during his presidency.

Unionization among college athletes could upend the college sports landscape even more, just as the current Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) reforms have done in the last several years.