Maybe Athletes Should Seek Intern Status, Not Unionization

February 7, 2014

If they want to be paid, college athletes might be better off declaring themselves interns and seeking compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act than they will be in seeking unionization, a Bloomberg Businessweek article suggests. Unpaid interns who work in similar conditions have been successful in lawsuits when they’ve shown that their employer derived “immediate advantage” from the intern’s work, that they didn’t benefit from the experience, and that they displaced regular employees.

The Northwestern football players who petitioned to form the College Athletes Players Association last month say they are not immediately seeking compensation, just full coverage for sports-related medical expenses and more rights regarding safety and other issues. But a push for more money could come in the future.

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