The Chicago district of the National Labor Relations Board sided with Northwestern football players and ruled they can unionize.
Regional director Peter Ohr said in his decision, that scholarship players are employees and they have the right to collectively bargain, reports The New York Times.
Ohr said several factors played into the decision, including how scholarship football players often put in as much as 50 hours of towards football in a week and how much control that coaches have over them and their scholarships. “It cannot be said that the employer’s scholarship players are ‘primarily students.'”
Now whether the scholarship students choose to be represented by the College Athletes Players Association can be put to a vote, according to ESPN. The nonprofit advocacy group helped the Northwestern students plead their case.
The National College Players Association President Ramogi Huma said, “The NCAA invented the term student-athlete to prevent the exact ruling that was made today. … The reality is players are employees.”
Northwestern released a statement following the ruling that noted the college didn’t agree with the labor board’s ruling saying, “Unionization and collective bargaining are not the appropriate methods to address the concerns raised by student-athletes.”