NorthwesternWhen Northwestern University quarterback Kain Colter spearheaded the movement to allow he and his fellow Wildcat football teammates to unionize, everyone agreed the ensuing ruling from the National Labor Relations Board would be a landmark decision for college athletes — whether it be in their favor, or against. Well, Kain and his cohorts scored their first victory, asĀ  theĀ Chicago district of the NLRB ruled Wednesday that the players qualify as employees and can unionize:

NLRB regional director Peter Sung Ohr cited the players’ time commitment to their sport and that their scholarships were tied directly to their performance as reasons for granting them union rights.

Ohr wrote in his ruling that Wildcats players “fall squarely within the [National Labor Relations] Act’s broad definition of ’employee’ when one considers the common law definition of ’employee.'”

Northwestern University immediately issued a statement saying they plan to appeal the decision to the National Labor Relations Board in Washington:

“While we respect the NLRB process and the regional director’s opinion, we disagree with it. Northwestern believes strongly that our student-athletes are not employees, but students. Unionization and collective bargaining are not the appropriate methods to address the concerns raised by student-athletes.”

Here is a PDF of the Chicago board’s decision. As always, stay tuned…