Yesterday, Northwestern's football players announced their plans to petition to form a union. The petition was sent through the National College Players Association, and now the National Labor Relations Board will have to decide if college athletes are indeed employees and have the right to collective bargaining. We had lots of coverage of the events yesterday, so take a look at everything you'll need to know as the movement goes forward.
Immediately, the backlash about the union centered around "pay-for-play" and the Ed O'Bannon lawsuit. However, those critics are very misinformed. Unlike the O'Bannon plaintiffs, NU players are not looking for royalties from television revenues or use of their likeness. Rather, they are looking for basic medical and educational protections.
The union movement certainly is confusing, and it's likely to get even more muddled as the process plays out. To help you understand the nuts and bolts of it, we wrote about the four most important things to know: How this differs from the O'Bannon lawsuit, the obstacles to become employees, the potential success of collective bargaining and the divide between athletes in revenue and non-revenue sports.
On the surface, the goal of the movement is to form a union of college players, but given the challenges that would present for both athletes and the NCAA, it isn't ideal for either side. However, as Kevin Trahan writes, the threat of a union could help push for internal NCAA reform and still get the players what they're asking for.
The word "union" sent shockwaves throughout college sports, but now that the shock value has diminished a little bit and the dust has started to settle, Chris Johnson takes a look at what happens next in the union movement.
The grandfather of InsideNU writer Josh Rosenblat was one of the lawyers who helped start the NFL Players Association. He gave some input on the case that the collegiate players have and compared it to the case of the NFL players when the NFLPA started. He also looks at the precedent for this case in recent years.