Notre Dame Illegally Classified College Athletes

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Notre Dame Illegally Classified College Athletes
June 15, 2021; Sunrise over campus, summer 2021 (Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame)

In a groundbreaking development, the University of Notre Dame has been accused of violating federal labor laws by improperly classifying college athletes as student-athletes. This allegation has emerged from an unfair labor practice charge filed by a college basketball players’ advocacy group.

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Notre Dame Illegally Classified College Athletes : Allegations Against Notre Dame

The charge, filed by the College Basketball Players Association (CBPA) with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), claims that Notre Dame has breached the National Labor Relations Act. This act mandates the correct classification of employees, and the CBPA asserts that college athletes at Notre Dame should be recognized as such, rather than merely student-athletes.

Michael D. H. Hsu, co-founder of the CBPA, highlighted the urgency of this issue following a November 2021 charge against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). This was prompted by an NLRB general counsel memorandum, which supported the employee status of college athletes at private universities.

Broader Implications for College Athletics

The contention that college athletes are employees is supported by their significant contributions to university revenues and the extensive control universities exert over their daily activities. These factors were crucial in a historical NLRB case involving Northwestern University’s scholarship football players, which still influences ongoing labor debates.