The memorandum gives an example of the practical impact of its conclusion, “for example, a football player who has been kicked off the team and lost his scholarship because he discussed improving concussion protocols with his teammates in violation of an unlawful team rule would be entitled to the protections of the Act.” Left unanswered are questions about non-Division 1 FBS schools and how other scholarship sports program participants will be viewed. The memorandum acknowledges that the profit derived from a Division 1 FBS football program is an important factor influencing employee status. The same reasoning may lead to a very different conclusion about other non-profit producing sports programs and even a different conclusion for non-Division 1 FBS football programs...

Student Workers Have Rights Too

The memorandum also explains that the Board’s 2016 decision in Columbia University to extend the Act’s coverage to graduate and undergraduate student assistants actually means that all paid student workers, both academic and non-academic, are employees under the Act, and the NLRB will enforce the extension of Act rights to all paid student workers. All universities and colleges should expect the Board to analyze unfair labor practice charges involving all student workers, whether academic or non-academic (such as cafeteria workers, lifeguards, campus tour guides, and administrative assistants in department offices such as those in financial aid or alumni affairs) accordingly.

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