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US National Labor Relations Board rules NCAA violated athletes’ labor rights; court meetings likely: reports

The National College Players Association will likely face the NCAA, Pac-12 and the University of Southern California in court after the National Labor Relations Board reportedly ruled that the parties are legally employers of college football and basketball players.

The decision comes 10 months after the NLRB filed an unfair labor practice charge against the NCAA, the conference and the school. The suit accuses the parties of misclassifying college players as “student-athletes” as well as other violations.

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NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis

NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis
(AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

“We are working to make sure college athletes are treated fairly in both the education and business aspects of college sports,” players association executive director Ramogi Huma said in a statement Thursday. “Gaining employee status and the right to organize is an important part in ending NCAA sports’ business practices that illegally exploit college athletes’ labor.”

“This kind of misclassification deprives these players of their statutory right to organize and to join together to improve their working/playing conditions if they wish to do so,” the NLRB’s general counsel, Jennifer Abruzzo, said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg. “Our aim is to ensure that these players can fully and freely exercise their rights.”

The Pac-12 Conference championship game between the Utah Utes and the USC Trojans on Dec. 2, 2022, at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

The Pac-12 Conference championship game between the Utah Utes and the USC Trojans on Dec. 2, 2022, at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
(Jeff Speer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

COLLEGE ATHLETE GROUP FILES COMPLAINT, SEEKS EMPLOYEE STATUS

Huma is confident that the court will rule in favor of the players “if it goes to the highest court in the land.”

The Labor Board will issue a complaint against the organizations, Bloomberg notes.

“College athletes meet the definition of employee under labor law,” said Huma, a former linebacker for UCLA, said in February. “They are highly skilled in their sport, paid scholarships and stipends to perform athletic services, and they perform their work under extensive control of their employer. These athletes deserve every right afforded to them under labor laws — just like other hard-working Americans.”

The NCAA logo

The NCAA logo
(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

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The Supreme Court ruled unanimously last year that college athletes can profit off their name, image and likeness.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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