On May 27th, a bill was introduced which would amend the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) and allow student-athletes to obtain collective bargaining rights. Under the proposed legislation, Section 2 of the NLRA would be amended to include student-athletes under the definition of an “employee” if the athlete receives direct compensation from their college in the form of grant-in-aid or other compensation which require the student-athlete to participate in intercollegiate athletics. Additionally, the definition of “employer” under Section 2 would capture a public or private college or university. Section 9 of the NLRA is also amended for colleges and universities to elect, if they choose, to be treated as a multiemployer bargaining unit if they are members of the same athletic conference.
If passed into law, this bill will allow student-athletes to exercise the rights of employees guaranteed under the NLRA. Some of these protected (or “concerted”) activities would be the right to collectively organize, challenge alleged discriminatory acts of administrators, coaches, or other members of a sports teams, the refusal to play their sport in a potentially unsafe condition, or bargain for better practice times, travel accommodations, over-time compensation, and various team rules.
The bill also assures that, while the student-athlete is considered an “employee” under the NLRA, the current tax status and treatment of any compensation received will not create additional tax burdens that do not currently exist or affect student-athletes’ federal financial aid status as well as any current reporting requirements within the Internal Revenue Code.
The full text of the bill may be viewed by clicking here.
We will track this bill and provide any further updates as they develop. At Pullano & Farrow, our team of attorneys counsel businesses and individuals on various Sports & Entertainment Law matters. For additional information regarding this Legal Briefing, please feel free to contact any member of our Firm at 585-730-4773. Please note that any embedded links to other documents may expire in the future.
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