Northwestern University Wildcats Might Get Union Rights - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Northwestern University Wildcats Might Get Union Rights

Posted: Updated: - According to the National Labor Relations Board, players' scholarships, and the time they devote to their sport, make them employees rather than students, and so they should have union rights.

The NLRB's regional director ruled Northwestern University football players can hold a vote if they want to be represented by the college athletes players board.

The director also said college athletes devote 40 to 50-hours a week to their sport, making them like full-time employees to the school while being paid by their scholarships.

Head football coach at WSU, Mike Leach, agreed with this decision and said,  "If somebody wants to be regarded as a professional, that actually kind of suits me. If these guys are professionals, then they want everything to be like it is in the NFL. That means we're shortly going to be having a draft, and I, for one, would be pretty excited about having a whole nation of quality athletes to draft from."

CAPA attorneys say college football is a commercial enterprise that relies on the player's labor to make money, which makes the relationship of schools to players one of employers to employees.

Critics said allowing players to unionize could hurt college sports in many ways including the chance of strikes or lockouts by athletic departments.

Northwestern University appealed to the NLRB in Washington, but a decision on whether or not to give players union rights could take months.