Warren says college athletes should be able to unionize after NCAA move
© Getty Images

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenHillicon Valley — Presented by LookingGlass — Congress makes technology policy moves Warren, Jayapal demand answers on reported judicial ethics violations Warren calls for Amazon breakup MORE (D-Mass.) called the NCAA’s announcement Tuesday that it's opening the door to allowing student athletes to profit off their names, images and likenesses a “good start,” but suggested it should be just the beginning.

“This is a good start,” the 2020 presidential candidate tweeted. “Now it's time to allow them to join a union—and get paid.”

Her comments Tuesday comes just hours after the NCAA's top governing body unanimously voted to start a process that would allow student-athletes to be compensated while in school.

ADVERTISEMENT

The NCAA board said in its decision that "modernization" of policies should occur with regards to a list of guidelines, including assurances that student-athletes are "treated similarly to non-athlete students unless a compelling reason exists to differentiate."

There was no mention of unionizing in the NCAA’s release Tuesday.

Warren has been a fierce proponent of unions and organized labor and has championed the cause on the campaign trail.

Her own campaign was the second in the 2020 cycle to announce that it is unionizing, following Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOn The Money — Progressives play hard ball on Biden budget plan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - Biden: We will fix nation's problems Left doubles down on aggressive strategy MORE’s (I-Vt.).

The NCAA signaling its openness to allow college athletes to profit while in school follows California’s move to be the first state to sign into. law a bill that would make it easier for student-athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness. The measure is scheduled to go into effect in 2023. 

Several other states, including Florida and Illinois, will consider similar legislation in the next legislative year.

Football players from Northwestern previously mounted an unsuccessful attempt to unionize, according to The New York Times.

The players’ claim was denied by the National Labor Relations Board, effectively saying the students were not considered employees of the university and were not able to collectively bargain.

The guidelines released by the NCAA said universities must make clear that compensation for athletics performance or participation is not allowed and that schools needed to "reaffirm that student-athletes are students first and not employees of the university."