Debate about union membership for student athletes rages on

New developments in the ongoing saga of union membership for student athletes and what it could mean for workers’ compensation.

USA Today reports that the National Labor Relations Board has ruled Northwestern football players have the right to unionize. This landmark decision will most likely be appealed and the debate is far from over.

We have taken a special interest in this topic because student athletes are not considered employees for purposes of workers’ compensation. Union membership may change this fact and allow for better medical coverage after graduation.

This is an important issue considering what is at stake for these student athletes. A bad injury could mean loss of a scholarship and the potential for lifetime medical expenses. Current insurance policies just don’t cut it. The NCAA catastrophic injury plan has a whopping $90,000 deductible.

The NCAA insists student athletes are not employees and should not be paid. Arguments about protecting the integrity of the game are hard to swallow when big time TV deals and company endorsements are the norm. It’s hard to fathom how universities can justify making billions while student athletes struggle with these issues.

We believe there is room for compromise and workers’ compensation could be the answer. All NCAA affiliated universities and colleges should contribute to a pooled workers’ compensation fund based upon the amount of revenue generated each year. State workers’ compensation laws would govern just like professional athletes. The fund would pay so that a student athlete could complete his or her education if a scholarship is lost. Medical bills would also be covered regardless of graduation.

Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a case. We have represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (855) 221-2667 for a free consultation.

Related information:

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Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by Jayel Aheram.

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