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Penn State Supports Northwestern Appeal Of NLRB Ruling

by on March 27, 2014 2:40 PM

In a twist that could begin a drastic change for all those involved with college athletics, The National Labor Relations Board ruled Wednesday afternoon that Northwestern University football players are in fact employees of their university and in turn are legally permitted to unionize.

While the ruling currently applies to Northwestern and the private school model the implications of Northwestern's expected appeal and further rulings on this matter will impact the public education and athletic system as well.

“Northwestern has already indicated its plan to appeal this decision by a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board," A Penn State spokesperson Lisa Powers told "Penn State is firmly committed to the bedrock principles of amateurism. We believe that all Penn State student-athletes are students, not employees.”

The NLRB ruling this week is the latest in a long line of legal battles going on within collegiate athletics. The NCAA is already tied up in a massive antitrust class-action lawsuit over the rights to an athlete's image and compensation for the use of that image following graduation.

Neither case will be fully completed any time soon but it seems almost certain that college athletics as fans have come to know it is racing quickly towards fundamental changes in labor, rights, and compensation. What those changes will look like and when they will come to fruition are questions with no answer in sight.

Penn State players have traditionally been quiet on the pay-for-play concept although defensive end Deion Barnes took to Twitter last year to give some thoughts on the controversy.

"The first year I was excited to have myself on NCAA football but now I see they're making money off me and everybody on that game, I need a check" Barnes tweeted.

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Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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