HomeSportsDartmouth players unionizing could result in 'domino effect' for college sports, expert...

Dartmouth players unionizing could result in ‘domino effect’ for college sports, expert says

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The Dartmouth men’s basketball team has taken a historic first step in challenging the norms of college athletics, voting Tuesday to unionize. 

The team voted 13-2 to join Service Employees International Union Local 560, which already represents some of the school’s employees, in an election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board.

The vote comes after college athletes began profiting off their name, image and likeness.

However, schools are not legally required to pay their athletes.


Members of the Dartmouth Big Green watch during a game against the Columbia Lions Feb. 16, 2024, in New York City. (Adam Gray/Getty Images)

The vote to unionize was met with immediate pushback from the school, but one expert says the school may be fighting a losing battle.

Michael Schreck, the founder of the Collegiate Sports Management Group, says the vote could be a huge step forward for college athletes.

“You gotta give the kids credit for trying to do it. How does it get legitimized? I don’t know. Do other players at schools have the wherewithal, the bandwidth or the hutzpah to go try to pull this off? I don’t know,” Schreck said in a recent interview with Fox News Digital.

“But, hey, they got the ear of somebody, and they banded together and tried to figure this out. I’m really excited to watch and see how that all plays out.

“They do have an argument. … If it all goes through the way they want it to, it’s going to be a domino effect quickly.”

Dartmouth players huddle together

Dartmouth Big Green players huddle before a game against the Harvard Crimson Feb. 10, 2024, at Lavietes Pavilion in Allston, Mass.  (Erica Denhoff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Schreck also said it’s not surprising athletes from an Ivy League school, who likely won’t make much NIL money, took this step.

“You’re not on (a) sports scholarship, but you’re on some type of academic scholarship. So, how does that parlay into what they’re trying to pull off and accomplish? That’s the interesting piece to this,” Schreck says. 

“It’s interesting to me that when you look at it, Yale, Princeton, Harvard are the best three academics in the Ivy League. Why didn’t one of those schools try to do it? I think everybody wanted to see if these kids from Dartmouth are going to try to pull this off, but what’s the fallout?”

Dartmouth quickly filed an appeal with the NLRB in hopes of overturning a decision last month that set the rules for this week’s vote.

Dartmouth College

The campus of Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., Oct. 17, 2021. (Bing Guan/Bloomberg via Getty Images)


“For Ivy League students who are varsity athletes, academics are of primary importance, and athletic pursuit is part of the educational experience,” the school said in a statement. “Classifying these students as employees simply because they play basketball is as unprecedented as it is inaccurate. We, therefore, do not believe unionization is appropriate.”

Fox News’ Paulina Dedaj and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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