Both Northwestern University and the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA) filed reply briefs with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) yesterday to further strengthen their respective positions regarding whether Northwestern’s football players should be able to form a labor union.  The reader may recall that the players filed a representation petition last January.  NLRB regional director Peter Sung Ohr determined in March that the players were “employees” of the university pursuant to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and could hold a union election.   

In its brief, Northwestern again hammered CAPA for arguing that football is unrelated to the school’s goal of educating young adults.

“There is overwhelming evidence that intercollegiate athletics are an integral aspect of the educational mission of Northwestern and other private and public universities,” the school said.

The CAPA, on the other hand, contended that the football players are employees because football is teaching them work skills

“Cultivating leadership, ability to work with others, and a dedication to hard work are attributes of employment,” the union said.

The parties’ briefs and reply briefs, as well as the briefs of various amici are in the Board’s hands and the case appears ripe for a decision.  Regardless of which way the Board rules, labor watchers expect the losing party to appeal the decision to the Circuit Courts.