Peter Ohr, the National Labor Relations Board Regional Director who, back in March, ruled that Northwestern football players were employees of the university and could therefore form a union, has told the Chicago Tribune that the decision in the Northwestern case was straightforward.
Ohr made the comment despite apparently being aware of the controversy that would emanate from the ruling. "Looking at the facts and the law," Ohr told the Tribune, "it was not a difficult decision."
Northwestern moved quickly to appeal Ohr’s decision after it was released. And since, the NCAA and other private schools have been steadfast in their support of the university’s side of the issue. Lawmakers have gotten involved too.
However, Ohr told the Tribune that part of his role is to ignore any possible repercussions and focus on the facts.
"Whether they think I am an idiot or they think I'm incredibly smart for finding that decision, that's irrelevant. I don't want to clog things up with my personal opinion about things."
This stance perhaps makes Ohr’s findings even more powerful. SB Nation’s Patrick Vint made this point back in March.
Ohr's opinion reads like that of someone who has not watched college football for one minute of his life, was told the basic premise for the sport's existence and amateurism rules, and rejected all the inherent contradictions.
At the present, we are awaiting the decision from the NLRB national board in Washington on Northwestern’s appeal. Regardless of that decision, the discussion on unionization and labor rights will undoubtedly rage on for years to come, but given that this board tends to be liberal-leaning, it's unlikely the decision will be overturned..
But Ohr’s comments show that, from a professional’s point of view, he believes that there is clear-cut legal evidence in favor of CAPA – the College Athletes Players Association, led by former NU quarterback Kain Colter – and the Northwestern players.