Judge Starr testifies before Congressional committee on student-athlete unionization
The concept of student-athlete unionization has been one of the hottest topics in college athletics since late March, when the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that football players at Northwestern University could unionize. The ruling means the NLRB sees college football players as employees rather than student-athletes, a decision with far-reaching implications across the collegiate landscape. (Northwestern players voted on whether or not to unionize in April, but those results are sealed until the NLRB rules on Northwestern’s appeal of the initial decision.)
Baylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr testified last Thursday before the House Education and Workforce Committee, warning of unintended consequences for private schools like Baylor. The impact of the ruling would only be felt by private schools; public schools are governed separately by state labor boards.
Starr told Congress that the ruling could create a disparity between schools allowed to unionize and those not allowed, and a discrepancy between the general student body and athletes, who could bargain over academic standards that affect their ability to play. He also warned that the ruling could impact Title IX compliance and set unionized athletes up to be taxed on their scholarships. Judge Starr was joined by Stanford Director of Athletics Bernard Muir in voicing worries about the ruling.
Sic ’em, Judge Starr!