Saturday, April 20, 2024

AdvertiseDonateSubmit
NewsSportsArtsOpinionThe QuadPhotoVideoIllustrationsCartoonsGraphicsThe StackPRIMEEnterpriseInteractivesPodcastsBruinwalkClassifieds

Regional labor official rules Dartmouth basketball players are school employees

Dartmouth Hall at Dartmouth College is pictured. On Monday, National Labor Relations Board Regional Director Laura Sacks ruled that Dartmouth’s men’s basketball players are employees of the school and can unionize. (Wikimedia Commons courtesy photo by Daderot)

By Lauryn Olina Wang

Feb. 6, 2024 5:21 p.m.

This post was updated Feb. 6 at 11:17 p.m.

The NCAA’s amateurism model has met another challenge.

The National Labor Relations Board ruled in a landmark decision Monday that men’s basketball players at Dartmouth College are considered employees of the university under the National Labor Relations Act and can therefore unionize.

All 15 student-athletes on the Dartmouth roster signed a petition in September asking to join the Service Employees International Union Local 560 that represents other Dartmouth employees. With the infrastructure and support of a union, the players would have the opportunity to negotiate salaries and working conditions, such as practice and travel schedules.

“Because Dartmouth has the right to control the work performed by the Dartmouth men’s basketball team, and the players perform that work in exchange for compensation, I find that the petitioned-for basketball players are employees within the meaning of the Act,” NLRB Regional Director Laura Sacks wrote in the 26-page decision.

The last time the NLRB ruled college athletes as eligible to unionize was in 2014, when an NLRB regional office decided that the Northwestern University football team could pursue a union bid. However, the national board ultimately rejected employee status for the players because it did not ensure “stability in labor relations.”

However, that was not the case this time.

“I find that asserting jurisdiction would not create instability in labor relations,” Sacks added in her decision. “Accordingly, I shall direct an election in the petitioned-for unit.”

The school will ask the NLRB to review the ruling, as Northwestern did previously, according to Dartmouth spokesperson Diana Lawrence in a statement to The Dartmouth.

“Unlike other institutions where athletics generates millions of dollars in net revenue, the costs of Dartmouth’s athletics programs far exceed any revenue from the program – costs that Dartmouth bears as part of our participation in the Ivy League,” Lawrence said in the statement. “We believe firmly that unionization is not appropriate in this instance.”

The university had previously expressed its disapproval of the reclassification of its student-athletes as employees at a hearing held in October.

Representatives for Dartmouth claimed that its athletes shouldn’t be deemed employees because the academic mission of the school involves athletics, just as it does other extracurricular activities, such as musical groups and other student organizations.

The university also argued that the men’s basketball program is not turning a profit, while attorneys for the players held that the team still generates revenue for the school.

One factor that may aid the players’ cause in front of the national board is that Ivy League athletes do not receive athletic scholarships, unlike other Division I programs.

Since the announcement in favor of Dartmouth, several national unions have released statements of support.

“These Dartmouth basketball players should take pride in knowing that their efforts will be cemented in the history of sport labor activism,” wrote Tony Clark, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association. “I encourage Dartmouth College to accept the ruling and allow a fair union election to take place.”

The AFL-CIO also posted on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, regarding the NLRB’s decision.

“Big news for Dartmouth: @NLRB says basketball players can vote to join a union!” the tweet read. “With all the money NCAA athletes bring into colleges, they deserve the right to unionize.”

A West Coast regional office of the NLRB is reviewing a complaint that would reclassify USC football and basketball players as employees of the school, Pac-12 and the NCAA. The outcome of that case may be decided when the hearing resumes later this month.

Share this story:FacebookTwitterRedditEmail
Lauryn Olina Wang | Sports senior staff
Wang is currently a Sports senior staff writer on the women’s basketball, men’s basketball, NIL and football beats. She was previously an assistant Sports editor on the women’s basketball, men’s soccer, men’s golf and track and field beats, reporter on the women’s basketball beat and contributor on the men’s and women’s golf beats. Wang is also a fourth-year history major and community engagement and social change minor.
Wang is currently a Sports senior staff writer on the women’s basketball, men’s basketball, NIL and football beats. She was previously an assistant Sports editor on the women’s basketball, men’s soccer, men’s golf and track and field beats, reporter on the women’s basketball beat and contributor on the men’s and women’s golf beats. Wang is also a fourth-year history major and community engagement and social change minor.
COMMENTS
Featured Classifieds
Roommates-Private Room

WESTWOOD, Campus 5-minute walk. Own room in large furnished two-bedroom. Only occupant travels. Fireplace, cat, book/movie/video collections $1,295 w/utilities. [email protected]

More classifieds »
Related Posts