Mary Willingham, Richard Southall and Devon Ramsay attend the EPIX Presents 'Schooled: The Price of College Sports' in 2013.
Craig Barritt/Getty Images for EPIX

More than 20 college professors have formed a coalition to back the movement to pay college football and basketball players.

By SI Wire
March 13, 2015

More than 20 college professors have formed a coalition to back the movement to pay college football and basketball players.

The College Athletes Rights & Empowerment Faculty Coalition consists of professors from schools including Maryland, Michigan State and Georgia. On Thursday, they launched a grassroots campaign advocating on behalf of student-athletes being treated as employees, according to a report from Raleigh's News & Observer.

“These are faculty who have come to understand the academic and economic nature of the system, and the really fundamental mistreatment of college athletes who are in football and basketball,” Richard Southall, a former professor at UNC-Chapel Hill and leader of the College Sport Research Institute at the University of South Carolina, told the News & Observer. “The basic position we are taking is that these athletes are employees and deserve protection afforded to employee status.”

Many of the faculty involved work in sports management programs at Division I schools, many teaching and working in close proximity with student-athletes. The coalition's formation comes as the National Labor Relations Board is debating whether to support the decision made to allow Northwestern University football players to unionize as employees. The regional director ruled last year that football players at the school functioned as athletes first and students second due to their major time commitment to the sport.

Jeremy Woo

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