A potentially significant happening occurred on Thursday between the Los Angeles office of the National Labor Relations Board, the Pac-12 and the University of Southern California.
The complaint, per Steve Berkowitz of USA Today, says that the term “student-athletes” is an unlawful misclassification. Instead, they should be classified as employees, according to the NLRB.”
“The action — which applies to athletes in football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball — means that the NCAA, Pac-12 and USC will face a hearing before an administrative law judge on Nov. 7,” Berkowitz wrote.
“At that hearing, NLRB’s general counsel Jennifer Abruzzo will be seeking an order requiring those three entities to ‘reclassify the Players as employees rather than as ‘student-athletes’ in their files, including, but not limited to, their handbooks and rules, and notify all current Players that they have done so,” according to the complaint, which was issued under the National Labor Relations Act,” the report added.
Unsurprisingly, the Pac-12 disagreed with the complaint. On Thursday evening, the conference issued a statement.
“The Pac-12 Conference strongly disagrees with the complaint issued by the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, which alleges that the students at the University of Southern California who play football and basketball should be treated as employees, and not students,” it said, in part. “The General Counsel’s allegations are completely at odds with decades of established law and, more importantly, if accepted by the NLRB and the courts, would have a profound and negative impact on college sports and the many student-athletes in our Conference.”
The attitude of the NLRB is shared by a lot of fans. And regardless of how this specific hearing turns out, the complaint itself will likely be the latest in a long line of things (such as the Name, Image and Likeness deals, the transfer portal, etc.) that contribute to the ever-changing face of college athletics.