The National College Players Association will likely take on the NCAA, Pac-12 and the University of Southern California in court after the National Labor Relations Board ruled the parties are legal employers of college soccer 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 lawsuit accuses the parties of misclassifying college players as “student-athletes” as well as other violations.
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“We are working to make sure college athletes are treated fairly in both the educational and business aspects of college sports,” players’ association executive director Ramogi Huma said in a statement Thursday. “Getting employee status and the right to organize is an important part of ending NCAA sports business practices that illegally exploit the labor of college athletes.”
“This type of misclassification deprives these players of their legal right to organize and come together to improve their working/playing conditions if they choose,” NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo said in a statement. statement emailed to Bloomberg. “Our goal is to ensure that these players can fully and freely exercise their rights.”
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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 an employee under employment law,” Huma, a former UCLA linebacker, said in February. “They are highly skilled in their sport, pay scholarships and stipends to perform athletic services, and perform their work under the broad control of their employer. These athletes deserve all the rights that employment laws afford them, just like other hard-working Americans.”
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The Supreme Court ruled unanimously last year that college athletes can profit from their name, image and likeness.
Associated Press contributed to this report.