New Bill Could Classify College Athletes As Employees

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U.S. senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced legislation Thursday morning that would allow college athletes to collectively bargain for basic labor rights, if it becomes law.

“The bill would prohibit any scholarship that would keep an athlete from collectively bargaining for their rights. In theory, if the bill becomes law, players would be able to have a say in their working conditions. Companion legislation was also introduced in the House of Representatives,” CBS Sports notes.

A section of the bills reads as follows:

College athletes face exploitative and unfair labor practices by the National Collegiate Athletic Association … (NCAA) and its member institutions, primarily through the denial of the basic economic and labor rights of such athletes, which the NCAA and its member institutions have justified by defining college athletes as amateurs.

The NCAA and its member institutions have denied college athletes a fair wage for their labor by colluding to cap compensation; they maintain strict and exacting control over the terms and conditions of college athletes’ labor; and they exercise the ability to terminate an athlete’s eligibility to compete if the athlete violates these terms and conditions. […]

To establish more equitable terms and conditions for college athletes’ labor, college athletes need representation of their own choosing to negotiate collective-bargaining agreements with their respective colleges and the athletic conferences that help set rules and standards across an entire league.

It’s unclear how the bill would alter the ongoing name, image, and likeness legislation that have been introduced in various states across the nation.

“Big time college sports hasn’t been ‘amateur’ for a long time,” Murphy and Sanders said in a statement, “and the NCAA has long denied its players economic and bargaining rights while treating them like commodities.”

There are the facts. Go debate:

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack is a writer for OutKick where he reports and analyzes the latest topics in media, culture, sports, and politics..

Burack has become a prominent voice in media and has been featured on several shows across OutKick and industry related podcasts and radio stations.


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  1. If that happens, will the athletes have to pay to go to school, in order to play the sport, and then get paid? So do away with scholarships? Great for football, good luck to the badminton players out there

  2. If they become employees, I would guess that they would then be enrolled in a high-deductible health plan like other employees, and that their earnings would be taxed. Also, would they even need to be students? There are numerous complications for this construct.

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