A lengthy legal and political battle looms after Regional Director Peter Sung Ohr grants Northwestern University college ball players the right to unionize.
For years college athletes have received compensation for their talents through scholarships. Ohr’s decision to compensate players as school employees stems from the restrictions the school places on players, as well as the time players spend on training and games.
"I just think student athletes need a voice. And right now they don’t have a voice," said Roy Hall, former Ohio State University football player. "So I think the biggest part right now is getting leverage to go to the table and say ‘hey, this is a multi-billion dollar business, this NCAA non-profit organization. How can we better fit the student athletes of 2014 in going forward?’ versus using the same rules from the 60s or the 70s."
Northwestern football players plan to even the playing ground between the sports business that United States colleges have created using unpaid athletes by building a nationwide union of college athletes titled the ‘College Athletes Players Association’.
"It’s very difficult as a student athlete to see 100,000 people with your jersey on and you have to pay $60 for your own jersey. And you’re not seeing any of those sales from those jerseys. So that likeness in using players to benefit the NCAA without them getting benefits is very unfair," said Hall. " I don’t knock the NCAA, it’s a very sensitive situation. However the way that the players are going about it, not getting in the media and bashing anyone but doing it through the legal system and allowing it to take care of itself, I think is the best way to go about it."
The National Labor Relations Board’s deliberations over Northwestern’s appeal could take months. If Northwestern loses before the NLRB, it could take its case to Federal court.