College athletes are not employees of their university. They don’t get paid. And more important, they can’t unionize.
But that’s the reality football players at Northwestern University are contesting after seeking this week to become members of a union in a filing with the National Labor Relations Board.
The athletes wouldn’t necessarily get paid, however. The goal behind this latest move is to seek better medical protections and guaranteed scholarships for the cost of college. Currently, scholarships are sometimes rescinded if a student athlete gets injured. By unionizing, the athletes also want to raise money to continue their university education, even after they’ve exhausted their NCAA eligibility.