By Michaela MacDonald
LUBBOCK, TX -- A regional director of the National Labor Relations Board said Wednesday that football players at Northwestern University can create the nation's first college athlete's union. The board ruled that they qualify as employees under federal law and therefore can legally unionize.
But don't expect to see college athlete unions just yet. Northwestern plans to appeal the ruling to the National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C.
Texas Tech's NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative said this decision will not have a direct impact on Texas Tech right now, but the potential impact on college athletics is huge.
"As far as the direct ruling impact of the ruling on Texas Tech public institutions such as Texas Tech are not governed by the National Labor Relations Act, so there is no direct impact of the decision," said Shannon. "Certainly the potential for impact you know it will be interesting to watch what unfolds over the next several months and perhaps year."
Shannon says the NCAA is undergoing a governance restructure. He thinks many of the issues brought up by players including expanded scholarships and practice restrictions could be worked out in the restructuring that’s expected to be completed by August 2014.
The NCAA says it is against the decision. Critics argue it will harm college sports with the prospects of strikes by disgruntled players or lockouts by athletic departments.