Sen. Murphy reintroduces college athlete unionization bill

A day after the NCAA unveiled a proposal to allow some schools to directly compensate their athletes, Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy reintroduced a bill that would allow college athletes to unionize.The College Athlete Right to Organize Act (CARO) legislation introduced Wednesday by Murphy and co-sponsor Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders would amend the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to classify college athletes as employees. This designation would give college athletes the same rights as any employee in the United States to join together to improve their working conditions and wages, including the freedom to organize at their individual colleges or across colleges, and by sport or across sports.In Murphy’s proposal, the NLRA would update the definition of public colleges and private educational institutions as employers “within the context of intercollegiate sports, allowing athletes to collectively bargain at any college, regardless of state laws that restrict their basic labor rights or potential state laws that define athletes as nonemployees.””All the breathless attention on this weekend’s College Football Playoff selection is a reminder that college sports are anything but amateur. There is no college sports industry and its $16 billion in annual revenues without the athletes’ labor,” Murphy said Wednesday in a press release.”It’s past time they get a seat at the negotiating table. Instead of fighting athletes’ rights in courts and spending millions on lobbying Congress, the NCAA and its members should start negotiating directly with players on revenue-sharing, health and safety protections, and more. This legislation would make it easier for the athletes to realize their power, form unions, and start to collectively bargain.”NCAA President Charlie Baker wrote in a letter to member schools Tuesday that top NCAA schools should be allowed to operate under different rules. His proposed framework would create a new subdivision in which athletes would avoid being categorized as employees and would be allowed to license their NIL rights directly to their schools.