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O'Connell Law Firm, LLC Decatur Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
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College Athletes To Be Reclassified As Employees


College athletes earn billions annually for their universities and are compensated quite poorly for the effort. Of course, the payoff is that they get a stage on which they can market their abilities for future income. That’s how it’s worked out for thousands of footballers, basketballers, and baseball players. But what about those who suffer career-ending injuries in college? The purported payoff offered by the university is contingent on their remaining healthy upon graduation. Players are thus taking an awful risk by playing at the college level. With issues related to CTE now clearly understood, the stakes are higher than ever and the NCAA continues to lose its ironclad grip on the players.

New memo reclassifies NCAA players as employees 

A recent memo sent by the National Labor Relations Board to the NCAA has ordered the NCAA to reclassify their players as employees. This potentially has the power to disrupt the NCAA considerably, which is why the NCAA has long opposed the initiative. Meanwhile, the NCAA’s players have been attempting to form a union so that they can begin the process of collective bargaining with the NCAA. Previously, judges have ruled that they lack the jurisdiction to hear such cases. However, if the NCAA classified student-athletes as employees, it would provide a clear path to unionization and collective bargaining rights.

The National Labor Relations Board 

The National Labor Relations Board, also known as the NLRB, issued the memo, which only applies to private institutions and not public universities. This will create a serious problem for the NCAA. If private school athletes are classified as employees while public universities play by different rules, then the private universities have a significant recruiting advantage over public universities. Players will be compensated at private universities but not public ones. This will force the public universities to change their policies so that they can compete against the private schools. Players will obviously prefer to go where they can make money. So, while the ruling only applies to private universities, the leverage these universities gain in recruitment would force the entire NCAA to adopt similar policies.

In other words, the NCAA’s recruitment of student-athletes is no longer subject to self-defined rules invented by the NCAA. Instead, it’s subject to the whims of the free market.

Workers’ compensation issues 

Right now, the NCAA requires all student-athletes to have health insurance. That is the extent of their coverage. In some cases, the NCAA will offer exceptional student-athlete policies to insure their future to a select few exceptional athletes. Under the new terms, those same students would be covered by workers’ compensation which would pay catastrophic injury benefits. It would be a better system than the one we have now because often, these student-athletes are simply out of luck if they suffer a career-ending injury.

Talk to a Decatur, GA Workers’ Compensation Lawyer 

An attorney can help litigate a workers’ compensation claim when your employer’s insurer attempts to deny the claim. Call the Decatur workers’ compensation attorneys at O’Connell Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.


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