ASU AD reacts to college football players unionizing ruling

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)- The National Labor Relations Board in Chicago ruled Wednesday that football players at Northwestern University are employees and can unionize.

ASU Athletic Director Terry Mohajir said there are still a lot of variables to consider with this decision but said student athletes are well compensated for the work they do.

"They're getting room and board, they're getting clothes, they're getting student-athlete opportunity funds, they've got stipends, and some schools get cost of attendance," Mohajir told Region 8 News. "I would say that's a lot of compensation, I would say a lot of regular students including yourself who went to school and probably put themselves through school would love to have that opportunity."

Mohajir said he disagrees with the decision to treat student-athletes like employees.

"There is no question that student athletes-being a student athlete myself that they do, I mean there is a lot of hard work  but they are getting compensated to do so," he said. "They are not paid employees per se, they are college athletes first and foremost."

The National Labor Relations Board regional director said the time players dedicate to their sport and the fact that their scholarships were directly tied to their performance on the field were reasons for granting them union rights.

College Athletes Players Association argued that college football is a commercial enterprise that relies on player's labor to generate billions of dollars.

"Leaving school with zero debt is to me being compensated,"Mohajir said. "In college athletics the coaches are the show, in pros the athletes are the show."

Mohajir said some schools have valued their four year athletic scholarships to equal about $1.5 million because of all the perks that comes along with it.

"This is not just college athletics and student athletes , this will also affect graduate assistance, teaching assistance," he said. "I think our student athletes don't know what they don't know, don't know what they don't know."

Northwestern University plans to appeal the decision saying it's not the appropriate way to address athlete's concerns.

Only athletes from private schools will be able to join CAPA.

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