ISU Reacts To NU's Unionization Ruling

Published 03/27 2014 06:35PM

Updated 03/28 2014 09:38AM

NORMAL - A ruling by the National Labor Relations Board Wednesday now calls Northwestern football players employees. While the school plans to appeal the decision, the ruling could have tremendous trickle-down effect on the rest of the athletic world.

Northwestern is a private institution. That's one of the messages being delivered at Illinois State University, after a ruling that NU's football players are not student-athletes, but employees of the university.

But that ruling didn't go unnoticed at ISU.

"It'll be interesting to see as it winds its way through the appeals process, as it goes to Washington, D.C., and probably into the federal court system, depending on which side is on the side of the next ruling," said athletic director Larry Lyons.

Lyons says most people understand the concerns for the students, having more medical care and having a bigger voice in the university.

"I understand that. We communicate with our student athletes on a regular basis here. We've got a very active SAC council and I think the most of the schools in the Valley would say the same thing."

Lyons says the union is looking at bigger conferences to get the benefits, but he says any school

"The vast majority of student-athletes are there to get a degree and not go into professional sports. They're there to go into wherever their lives are. So, I think the model we have in place is the appropriate one. It's been the appropriate one for 100 years or so."

In the long-term, there are still a number of questions lingering for Division I schools. In the short-term, Northwestern says it will appeal the ruling.

Lyons says if the football player union ruling stands, men's basketball would probably be the next sport to consider it. The NCAA released a statement says it was disappointed in the Northwestern ruling.

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

CIProud Workday Newsletter Sign-up