In the memorandum, Abruzzo recently noted that “significant types of law, NCAA regulations and the social landscape” showed that the traditional view of amateur sports had changed irreversibly.
She cited the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in the NCAA and Alston, confirming that college sports is a lucrative business. She was referring to the NCAA’s decision in the face of intense pressure from state legislators to allow players to make money from their reputation under the new name, image and equality law. She noted that after the assassination of George Floyd, athletes engaged in “unprecedented levels of collective action”, such as demanding social justice and insisting that any decision regarding playing during the corona virus epidemic should ensure their health and safety.
Abruzzo said the mix of events comes at a very different time than when the NLRB last weighed in at a higher level for college athletes.
In 2015, a five-person panel overturned the decision of a regional director to rule against football players at a northwestern private school who sought to form unions. The board rule did not rule on the fundamental question of whether athletes were university employees, and said the impact of the petition on sports did not promote “stability in labor relations.”
Wilma Liebmann, chairwoman of the NLRB from 2009 to 2011, said, “They hit,” but whether they won, lost or won, the players really won because they had more focus and sympathy.
Under the new guidelines, Libman et al. Warned that the correct case could take months or years to bubble through the NLRB system.
Gabriel Feldman, a professor of law and director of the Tullen Sports Law Program, said: “We’re far from college athletes being employees.” “But we have certainly received hints from many outside authorities who believe that the status quo regarding college athletic rights is not stable.”