Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

Dartmouth men’s basketball team votes 13-2 in favor of first labor union for college athletes

By 37ci3 Mar5,2024

The Dartmouth Men’s Basketball team voted 13-2 Tuesday afternoon in favor of becoming the first union for college athletes.

The vote would mark a major shift in the NCAA’s model, which currently allows only college athletes to benefit financially from their roles on teams. name, picture and likeness.

The National Labor Relations Board cleared the way for a union vote on February 5 after Regional Director Laura Sacks ordered an election for the team.

“Because Dartmouth has the right to control the work performed by the Dartmouth men’s basketball team and the players perform this work for compensation, I believe that the petitioned basketball players are employees in that sense. [National Labor Relations] Take action,” Sacks said.

Dartmouth backed away from the decision, filing an appeal to delay the election or have the ballots seized. Into movementThe university, pending with the NLRB, argued that the athletes were “students first, athletes second” and participated in college basketball to achieve educational goals like all students participating in any recognized extracurricular activity.

Cornell Sports Law Professor Michael L. Huyghue called classifying college athletes as regular students “ridiculous” because it ignores the millions of dollars colleges are paid for television contracts, marketing rights and ticket sales.

“We’ve gotten to a point where antitrust laws suggest that universities don’t have the right to capitalize all that revenue,” Huyghue said.

Dartmouth still has five days to challenge the union election, and the NLRB’s decision can be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court.

“A merger is not appropriate in this situation,” Dartmouth said in a statement to NBC News. “The costs of Dartmouth’s athletics program far exceed any revenue for the program.”

But Huyghue said just because an employer can’t succeed in generating revenue doesn’t mean its workers don’t have the right to unionize.

Dartmouth Big Green players
Dartmouth Big Green players gather during a game on February 16, 2024 in New York.Adam Gray/Getty Images

The push for the team to be recognized as a fraternity was started by Dartmouth men’s basketball players Cade Haskins and Romeo Myrthil, who told NBC News Now that they had to take jobs to make ends meet while also being student-athletes.

“Even though we work as a full-time job, basically being on the team, we don’t get a stipend or any benefits for being an athlete,” Haskins said.

This isn’t the first time a college athletic team has offered to be recognized as an employee. In 2014Northwestern University’s football team has sought union status from the NLRB.

Although the union election was held, the ballots were destroyed because the NLRB ruled next year that the prospect of union and non-union teams in college sports could create a competitive imbalance on the field.

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