Will unionized college athletics affect local schools?

Will unionized college athletics affect local schools? (Image 1)

A Vanderbilt graduate and labor lawyer says the decision to consider collegiate athletes as “employees” is a mistake.

“This could be the death knell of college athletics,” said Bill Ozier of the law firm Bass Berry and Sims. “Right now the union's efforts are directed toward football and men's basketball.”

A National Labor Board decided to consider college student athletes as college employees which could give them the opportunity to unionize.

“The National Labor and Relations Board only has jurisdiction over private employers, so the public universities aren't affected by this at all,” Ozier explained.

Private universities with football programs include Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Northwestern, Duke and the University of Southern California.

Ozier said if members of a team decided to unionize, it would create questions which few people can answer.

“Would football players be covered under workman's comp?” asked Ozier. “Are they entitled to overtime if they spend more than 40 hours a week practicing football?”

News 2 contacted Vanderbilt and Belmont universities for reaction to the labor board's decision.

Spokesmen for both universities said the schools were not ready to release a statement.

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