The National Labor Relations Board has dismissed a historic ruling that Northwestern University football players are school employees who are entitled to form what would be the nation’s first union of college athletes.
The NLRB released its decision Monday. The losing side does not have an option to appeal.
Northwestern had appealed last year’s ruling by a regional NLRB director in Chicago that led to a vote by football players on whether they wanted to form a union. Those ballots were sealed during the appeal and will now be destroyed.
Monday’s ruling says unionization could throw off the “competitive balance” between teams by setting different standards for practice, pay and other conditions at union and non-union schools.
Advocates say unionization would help athletes protect their health and financial interests.