Opportunity Economy: NLRB, Labor Laws and the Impact on NCAA Athletes

Can—and should—college athletes be classified as employees? The answer to that question may be in flux. In a recent episode of the In-House Roundhouse Podcast, Womble Bond Dickinson attorney and host Mark Henriques welcomed Womble Bond Dickinson attorney Mike Ingersoll and University of North Carolina School of Law Professor Barbara Osborne to discuss the latest developments. Both guests were scholarship student-athletes themselves during their college days, adding to their perspective on the many issues pertaining to college athletes as employees. This article is derived from that conversation and is the latest installment in Womble Bond Dickinson’s Opportunity Economy series.

Just when you think you have all the answers about college athletes as employees, the National Labor Relations Board changes the questions.

NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo’s September 2021 memorandum states that her office will consider some college athletes to be employees moving forward. But a number of significant questions—including whether Abruzzo’s memo has the full support of the NLRB—remain unanswered.

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