Lester Munson at ESPN.com has reported that the top lawyer at the National Labor Relations Board has issued an official opinion this week and determined that football players at all 17 private colleges in the FBS are employees of their schools.
This means that the players will be under jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Act, which will provide a new avenue to seek cash compensation, as well as other demands above and beyond their scholarship.
The link from ESPN goes over several of what will likely be frequently asked questions as to how this will impact Wake Forest and the other 17 private schools.
As far as how this will impact where Wake Forest stands on a competitive side of things I do not know the answer to. I can only guess that this would likely be a positive for getting more players to these schools until the NCAA provides the public schools with the same rights.
My first thought is that Wake just needs to start cranking out checks and paying these guys. That would certainly level the playing field.
I’m not sure how the NCAA by-laws and this ruling will mesh, but I’m sure it will be addressed shortly by the NCAA.
This is a hotly debated topic, and I can’t say that I am informed enough to make strong opinions one way or the other on this, but it certainly changes the perception that these student-athletes are merely “amateurs” any longer. Given the way that these schools handle their players and teams like “businesses”, I can’t say that I am greatly surprised at how this came down.
As more news comes out on this, as well as the potential ramifications to it, we will keep you updated, as we have a couple of lawyers on our staff as well. I am sure they can chime in and/or will have thoughts to share on it once they have time to review and analyze it.
Comments are welcome as always!