CHICAGO, Aug. 17 (UPI) — Northwestern University football players have been blocked from becoming the first union of college athletes by the National Labor Relations Board on Monday.
The board did not rule on whether athletes should be considered employees of the school who have the right to unionize, instead citing the fact that labor law only allows the board to rule on private-sector work places — stating that most college football programs are mandated at a state school level, according to CNN.
Northwestern University is a private research university in Illinois, with campuses in Chicago and Evanston.
“The Board held that asserting jurisdiction over a single team would not promote stability in labor relations across the league,” the board said in the ruling statement.
National College Players Association Executive Director Ramogi Huma filed a petition in 2014 with the board, along with cards signed by an undisclosed number of players indicating they wish to be represented by the union.
Huma — who played football at UCLA and helped form the NCPA in 2001 — said the unionization movement had the support of the United Steelworkers union.
“This is about finally giving college athletes a seat at the table,” Huma previously said. “Athletes deserve an equal voice when it comes to their physical, academic and financial protections.”
NCAA Chief Legal Officer Donald Remy previously issued a statement saying “student-athletes are not employees within any definition of the National Labor Relations Act” so there is no employment relationship between the “NCAA, its affiliated institutions or student-athletes.”
The statement said student-athletes’ participation in college sports is “voluntary.”