Thursday, September 30, 2021

NLRB: College Athletes Are Employees


written by STEVE ULRICH
your must-read briefing on what's driving the day in NCAA Division III

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1. NLRB: College Athletes are Employees

College athletes can be considered employees, says top NLRB lawyer
by Michael McCann, Sportico / photo by Getty Images

"In a memorandum to National Labor Relations Board regional directors and other agency officials on Wednesday, NLRB general counsel Jennifer Abruzzo announced her view that college athletes have statutory rights consistent with employee recognition under the National Labor Relations Act. While not of itself a change in law that allows athletes to be paid wages for playing sports in college, the memo is another step on the road of treating college athletes as actual laborers and not mere amateur students.

The NLRB has jurisdiction over private employees, meaning private colleges and universities. It does not have jurisdiction over public universities, which are governed by state labor laws and related agencies.

To be clear, Abruzzo’s memo does not, on its own, convert college athletes into employees or recognize them as employees of their school, conference or the NCAA. The general counsel does not have a vote, as do the five NLRB board members, on matters that could alter precedent. As a result, college athletic directors and their compliance staff do not necessarily need to alter their existing relations with athletes."

>> Court Awareness: "While it’s important to recognize the limits of Abruzzo’s memo, the document could—when viewed in the context of other changes—pave the way for transformation. To that point, while Abruzzo might lack a “vote”, she possesses substantial powers."

>> Why It Matters: "College administrators should heed the substance of the memo. For starters, Abruzzo bluntly rejects the “student-athlete” moniker, a label the NCAA and member schools and conferences have routinely employed for decades. “Student-athlete” was originally designed for legal purpose: to help schools avoid claims brought by athletes who argued they were employees and thus eligible for workers compensation. Abruzzo says she will allege violations of the National Labor Relations Act when schools “misclassify such employees as mere ‘student-athletes’.” She added that use of “student-athlete” will not, under watch, be allowed to “deprive individuals of workplace protections.”

>> Reality Check: "Abruzzo went on to note that the NCAA suspending its prohibition of name, image and likeness rules in July—thereby allowing college athletes to sign endorsements and sponsorships without running afoul of NCAA rules—help to support her conclusion that college athletes engage in commercial activities and thus ought to be recognized as employees."

>> The Final Word: "While many details need to be sorted, the times appear to be changing, and college athletes appear closer to becoming paid employees."

>> Continue Reading



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2. Females Win on MaximBet

by Kristi Dosh, Forbes Sports Money / photo by Charlie Lengal

"The vast majority of state laws and institutional policies governing name, image and likeness for student athletes prohibit deals with sports betting or gambling entities. The majority, but not all of them.

That’s how MaximBet is able to offer NIL contracts to every female student athlete in Colorado over the age of 21, regardless of whether they play Division I, II or III. Colorado’s state law does not specifically prohibit working with brands in any specific categories, including the gambling industry. Policies at University of Colorado, Colorado State University posted online similarly carry no category prohibitions.

Doug Terfehr, vice president of brand and communications at MaximBet, said as his brand looked at how to launch in Colorado, they realized neither the state law nor institutional policies prohibited them from taking advantage of the new NIL landscape by working with student athletes in the state."

>> Between The Lines: "Female student athletes who choose to accept the open offer will commit to four-month engagements and each receive a cash payment of $500 each, invitations to parties, merchandise and more. In order to become part of the MaximBet NIL team, eligible athletes must follow the brand on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter, and send a DM to the brand on any of those platforms indicating her interest."

>> What They're Saying: “We firmly believe that the student athlete on a Division III campus are just as influential as a student athlete on a Division I campus, and sometimes maybe even more so in terms of the amount of people that they reach and touch beyond their social on a small Division III or Division II campus," said Terfehr.”

>> Of Note: "MaximBet is already live in Colorado and is set to go live in Indiana, Iowa, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania. So, don’t be surprised if you see them making more offers to student athletes where permitted."

>> Read More


3.  About Last Night

Richard Gillespie

Soccer (M)

Soccer (W)Field Hockey
  • No. 10 Ursinus (6-2) won its third straight game over a top-10 opponent, defeating No. 5 Messiah (7-2), 2-1, on a goal by Jordan Moore.
  • Kevin Boysen and Maggie Nierengarten combined for 21 kills as Augsburg (10-6) stunned No. 19 Wisconsin-Stevens Point (15-3) in straight sets.
>> Scoreboards:  MSOC  |  WSOC  |  FHK  |  VB

4.  Players of the Week


Third-Ranked Trinity Throttles No. 4 Colorado College on the Road
photo by Tresa Thornton

Trinity senior OH Abby Tuggle was named the AVCA National Player of the Week. She averaged 3.54 kills per set and hit .393 to lead the Tigers to a 4-0 week.

Field Hockey


Ursinus defender Erin McIlhenny was named the NFHCA Defensive Player of the Week. She registered four defensive saves in a 2-0 week vs. ranked opponents.

Scranton sophomore Katie Redding was tabbed as the NFHCA Offensive Player of the Week. She had five goals in two victories, including a hat trick in a victory against No. 17 Susquehanna.



Delaware Valley first-year forward Jess Williamson was named the United Soccer Coaches National Women's Player of the Week. She scored 11 goals and added a pair of assists in three Aggie victories.

Merchant Marine senior defender Abram Ehrhorn was selected United Soccer Coaches National Men's Player of the Week. He led the defense to three clean sheets and added three goals.


5. Staying in Place

Some movement among the top 10 teams in this week's American Volleyball Coaches Association poll. Johns Hopkins, Claremont-M-S and Trinity remain in the top three positions.

  1. Johns Hopkins, 10-0
  2. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, 10-0
  3. Trinity, Texas, 13-1
  4. Calvin, 16-1
  5. Colorado College, 13-2
  6. Hope, 12-1
  7. Emory, 11-2
  8. Wartburg, 17-0
  9. Mary Hardin-Baylor, 12-0
  10. Wisconsin-Whitewater, 11-1
>> Say Hello To: Wisconsin-Stevens Point, UC Santa Cruz

>> Matches We're Watching
  • No. 1 Johns Hopkins (11-0) at Haverford (12-2), Sat.
  • No. 7 Emory (12-2) at No. 16 NYU (12-0), Sun.
>> Stat Leaders: Wellesley's Nicole Doerges leads DIII in kills per set (5.73), while Colorado College's Jenny Jenks tops the set assist list (11.20).

>> Complete Poll

6. Hopkins, Wartburg Remain No. 1

Only one change in this week's USTFCCCA top 10 cross country rankings.

  1. Johns Hopkins
  2. Wartburg
  3. Chicago
  4. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
  5. Williams
  6. Washington, Mo.
  7. MIT
  8. Dickinson
  9. Pomona-Pitzer
  10. Bates
>> New to Top 10: Pomona-Pitzer

>> Complete Poll

  1. Wartburg
  2. Pomona-Pitzer
  3. Williams
  4. Geneseo
  5. MIT
  6. North Central, Ill.
  7. John Carroll
  8. Wisconsin-Whitewater
  9. Claremont-M-S
  10. Washington, Mo.
>> New to the Top 10: none

>> Complete Poll

7.  Comings and Goings
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