Alfred Anderson | Staff Writer

Football players at Northwestern University in Chicago, Ill.  have been added to payroll.


The decision made by the National Labor Relations Board of Chicago could have a monumental impact on college sports.

Traditionally, student-athletes have been just that. Each year talented high school athletes are scouted and chosen to receive scholarships to pay for their education at some of the top institutions in American.  A select few such as the football players at Northwestern University receive the opportunity to participate in competitive sports as a part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

Schools are able to earn copious amounts of money on athletes.  Some call this an exploitation of college athletes. In college football, schools and conferences make millions of dollars using athletes for  just TV Deals, appearances in annual bowl games and sponsorship deals.

Schools also use images of players to promote ticket sales, merchandise such as game day guides and other memorabilia. Often times, schools even sell the jerseys with the numbers of their most most popular players.

Northwestern football players, lead by former quarterback Kain Colter went to the National Labor Relations Board with the demands they wanted with the university. They were granted the right to form a union and pursue collective bargaining, recognizing them as employees of the university.

The board took into consideration that the football players devote 40 to 50 hours a week, which include frequent traveling for road games,  and meetings.

Taking it a step forward, Northwestern also had guidelines that players had to follow, freshman and sophomore football players are required to love on campus, and players must provide information about their cars, their living arrangements and any employment that falls outside of their athletic and academic duties. Posts on their social media websites are also closely monitored and restricted.

Scholarship athletes at Northwestern will be granted the opportunity to vote on whether or not to unionize. Even if a union is elected to be formed, there will still be kinks that will have to be ironed out and questions that will have to be answered…including questions regarding what rights and benefits the players will be able to earn along with the role of the NCAA in the formation of the union. Regardless, this ruling is a landmark decision in the world of college sports, which could influence collegiate athletes from around the country to form unions and fight for more rights and benefits against the NCAA as they aim to have successful academic and athletic careers.