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NLRB Rules Northwestern Players Can’t Unionize

The five-member board explicitly did not rule on whether players are university employees, as NLRB regional director Peter Sung Ohr determined in March 2014, when he also said they were entitled to organize. Instead, it cited its charge under the National Labor Relations Act to create stable and predictable labor environments in various industries. It said in its ruling that allowing the Northwestern players to bargain with the university would not promote stability in a college football labor environment because the board has no jurisdiction over public schools, which make up the vast majority of the Big Ten Conference the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision.