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Congress Advances Bill That Would Prevent College Athletes from Becoming Employees

College sports are undergoing major changes seemingly every month these days. Since the establishment of the transfer portal in 2018, college sports have become nearly unrecognizable.

College athletes used to get in trouble for getting a hamburger from a booster, but now they can be straight-up paid by third parties. With revenue sharing coming to revenue sports like football and basketball, student-athletes are more like employees than ever before.

Some think that college athletes becoming employees might be inevitable. In fact, a regional director for the National Labor Relations Board ruled that athletes at Dartmouth were employees of the school earlier this year.

If all student-athletes, or at least all Division I athletes, were given employee status it would be an earthquake. Universities would have to allow them to form a union, pay them workers compensation for injuries, pay payroll taxes on every student-athlete, among a host of other things.

Some members of Congress do not want to see that happen. And, after a multitude of hearings around issues pertaining to college athletics, a House committee advanced a bill that would prohibit student-athletes to be classified as employees.

What does this mean? The vote now advances to the full House of Representatives for a vote, if House leadership chooses to bring it up for a vote before a new Congress is sworn in next January. Then, in Schoolhouse Rock fashion, it would have to be approved by the Senate, which is unlikely given the power dynamics in the upper chamber, and then signed into law by President Joe Biden. If all of that doesn’t happen prior to January, they have to start over next year

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