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Unfair labor practice complaint filed with NLRB against Notre Dame

Eric Prisbellby:Eric Prisbell04/18/24


Yet another unfair labor practice complaint has been filed with the National Labor Relations Board — this time against Notre Dame.

Michael Hsu, co-founder of the College Basketball Players Association (CBPA), filed his most recent complaint Thursday, asserting that it is an unfair labor practice to call Notre Dame’s athletes student-athletes instead of employees.

The most recent filing comes at a time when legal experts believe the industry is on a slow march toward an employee model in college sports. 

Last month, Dartmouth‘s men’s basketball players voted to unionize. The proceedings are now immersed in a lengthy review process – one that could ultimately make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Meantime in Los Angeles, the NLRB hearings involving USC, the Pac-12 and the NCAA concluded today. USC, the Pac-12 and NCAA are charged with misclassifying USC’s football and men’s and women’s basketball players as student-athletes instead of employees.

The USC case carries added significance. 

The National Labor Relations Act applies to private institutions. But because the Pac-12 and NCAA are charged with being joint employers, the outcome could potentially open the door for athletes at public universities to be deemed employees of their conference or the NCAA.

The issue of control weighed heavily in the Dartmouth ruling. And legal experts say the amount of control a power conference school exercises over its athletes is generally much greater than the control exerted by Ivy League schools over their athletes.

The Notre Dame complaint is just the latest filed by Hsu.

The NLRB Region 13 Chicago office is investigating an unfair labor practice charge filed on July 10 by the CBPA against NorthwesternAnd the NLRB Region 25 Indianapolis office is investigating an earlier charge filed by the CBPA against the NCAA.