Are College Athletes Employees? Former Labor-Board Chairman Says Yes

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M. Spencer Green, AP Images

Ramogi Huma (left), president of the College Athletes Players Association, and Kain Colter, Northwestern U.'s senior quarterback, are shown heading into a hearing before a regional division of the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago on February 18. Mr. Colter testified that football was essentially a full-time job, requiring a commitment of up to 60 hours a week.

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M. Spencer Green, AP Images

Ramogi Huma (left), president of the College Athletes Players Association, and Kain Colter, Northwestern U.'s senior quarterback, are shown heading into a hearing before a regional division of the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago on February 18. Mr. Colter testified that football was essentially a full-time job, requiring a commitment of up to 60 hours a week.

Over five days last month, much attention was focused on a federal hearing room in Chicago, where football players at Northwestern University challenged one of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s longstanding principles: that big-time athletes are students first and not employees.

In the coming weeks, a regional office of the National Labor Relations Board, which is deciding the case, will rule on the players’