Ruling that college athletes could unionize focuses attention on federal labor relations board

The Associated Press

FILE - In this Sept. 21, 2013, file photo, Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter (2), wears APU for "All Players United" on wrist tape as he scores a touchdown during an NCAA college football game against Maine in Evanston, Ill. The five-member regulatory board that will ultimately decide if Northwestern University football players can unionize has itself been in the middle of a firestorm. The very makeup of the National Labor Relations Board has been challenged in a case now before the Supreme Court. And Republicans contend the agency has being overly friendly to organized labor. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

Associated Press + More

By TOM RAUM, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The five-member regulatory board that will ultimately decide if Northwestern University football players can unionize has itself been in the middle of a firestorm.

The very makeup of the National Labor Relations Board has been challenged in a case now before the Supreme Court. And Republicans contend the agency has being overly friendly to organized labor.

Northwestern said Friday that it would appeal to the full NLRB a regional director's ruling that full scholarship players can be considered employees and thus have the right to form a union.

The appeal is due April 9, with the response from the players April 16. There's no deadline for the full board to respond.

The current NLRB has a 3-2 Democratic majority. All five members were appointed by President Barack Obama.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.