With a landmark ruling last week, an NLRB regional director determined that the football players at Northwestern University are university employees, and thus are entitled to form a union if they choose. To analyze that decision, I asked Lester Munson of ESPN.com to join me on America Weekend.
He explained how far the door is now open for the Northwestern players and those at other universities, both public and private. We discussed the involvement of the Steelworkers Union (and how other powerful unions could help college athletes) in their efforts to gain more control over their working conditions, their medical care, and insurance coverage. I also asked Lester, if the ruling is upheld by the national NLRB board, whether the players could insist on being paid for their efforts, and whether he foresees a day in the near future when colleges employ football and basketball teams made up of players who don’t even attend the school.
Full disclosure: in addition to his work for ESPN, Lester is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University’s Medill School Of Journalism.