A Union of Amateurs: A Legal Blueprint to Reshape Big-Time College Athletics

76 Pages Posted: 9 Feb 2012 Last revised: 3 Jan 2013

Nicholas Fram

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law

T. Ward Frampton

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law

Date Written: February 7, 2012

Abstract

College sports now generate billions of dollars every year, yet many of the athletes whose talent and labor sustains this enterprise live beneath the poverty line. In response to this basic inequality, several prominent commentators (and, significantly, college athletes themselves) have recently issued calls for fundamental changes. This Article offers a novel proposal for reform: under the labor law regimes of many states, college athletes are, in fact, “employees” entitled to collective bargaining rights. Prior scholarship has contemplated the status of college athletes under federal labor law. But this work has overlooked the basic fact that most college athletes go to public institutions exempt from coverage under the NLRA, has downplayed significant differences between state and federal labor law, and has disregarded the growing centrality of state law in American labor relations. By offering the first comprehensive state-level survey of relevant labor law, this Article provides a blueprint for college athletes to organize, and proposes that such efforts can be consistent with traditional notions of amateurism.

Suggested Citation

Fram, Nicholas and Frampton, T. Ward, A Union of Amateurs: A Legal Blueprint to Reshape Big-Time College Athletics (February 7, 2012). Buffalo Law Review Vol. 60. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2001027 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2001027

Nicholas Fram

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law ( email )

215 Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

T. Ward Frampton (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law ( email )

215 Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

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