Perhaps the most important ruling of the offseason for the future of college sports came from the ruling by the National Labor Relations Board that Northwestern football players now have the right to unionize. This has long-reaching implications.
Here's what SB Nation legal expert Patrick Vint has to say on the implications. The whole thing is definitely worth a read, but I'd pay attention to this particular snippet.
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At other private schools (like Notre Dame, USC, and Vanderbilt), players could copy Northwestern's model and work toward unionization, citing Wednesday's decision as precedent. Directors in other districts are not required to follow Ohr's decision, though, so repeated unionization could lead to different results across the country.
State schools (like Alabama, Ohio State, and Texas) are not governed by the NLRB, and its decisions are not enforceable against state-school football programs. State labor laws would apply. In right-to-work states, unionization would be a non-starter. How well it would work elsewhere will depend on each state's laws and regulations.
Utah is a right-to-work state, and Utah is obviously a state school. So at this moment it wouldn't affect the Utes. But it could affect many of its other neighboring Pac-12 schools: Colorado, California, Washington and Oregon have no right-to-work laws, meaning unionization is still a distinct possibility for all these schools down the line.
Utah Athletic Director Chris Hill said Thursday that he supports consideration of an increased stipend for student-athletes and even potentially allowing them to pursue endorsement deals, but that on the whole he believes the current NCAA student-athlete model is "pretty successful."
Hill said he’s still digesting Wednesday’s National Labor Relations Board ruling that football players at Northwestern University can unionize, and that it’s too early to say what the implications are, even for Northwestern.
Of himself and other athletic directors who have followed the case, Hill said, "Most all of us really don’t fully understand what this ruling means, [or] fully understand what the players are asking for."
How do you think this ruling will eventually affect college athletics? What are your general feelings about unionization in college athletics?