In a recently filed lawsuit, the College Basketball Players Association (CBPA) has accused the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) of violating Sec. 8(a)(1) of the NLRA “by classifying college athletes as student-athletes.” In so doing, the CBPA alleges the NCAA has illegally benefitted from the work of college athletes without giving them the income or benefits they would otherwise be entitled to. They have filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to have them investigate the issue, with the intent of changing the existing law.
What is the CBPA?
The CBPA is an advocacy group recently formed with the intent of advocating for the labor rights of college athletes. They are focused on helping these athletes to obtain appropriate compensation for the time they spend playing on behalf of their schools. They also say that college athletes should be afforded the same protections that professional athletes are given for the same time.
Why is the CBPA Filing a Charge Against the NCAA?
The CBPA is filing a charge against the NCAA due to allegedly illegal exploitation of college athletes playing under the auspices of their organization. The NCAA makes more than $800 million per year from college athletics, including from ticket sales, advertising, and merchandising. However, as student athletes, the players for the NCAA do not personally see any of that money, which primarily goes to their schools or to the NCAA itself.
Why Does it Matter if They Are Student Athletes or Not?
Under the law as it currently stands, student athletes are not entitled to any compensation or benefits for the time they spend playing or training for their team. Not only does this mean that they do not get any income aside from athletic scholarships, it also means they have no legal protections in the event they get sick or injured and become unable to play. For college students who rely on their athletic scholarships to attend their school, this may mean that a serious injury while playing could also cost them their education, with nothing tangible to show for it.
How Could This Charge Help?
By filing a charge on behalf of college athletes, the CBPA can give the NLRB the authority to investigate potential labor abuses by the NCAA. This allows them to use their legal authority to question witnesses, collect evidence, and potentially bring a legal action against the NCAA. It could also, in the long run, result in a potential change to labor law, to help protect college athletes from exploitation.
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