Two stories relating to sports, employees and payroll hit the news this past week

1. The district commissioner of the NLRB ruled in favor of the football players on Northwestern’s NCAA football team stating that the players were employees of the college and thus had the right to unionize if they chose to do so. Officials at the school said they would appeal the decision. The Advi$or wonders though….now that the football players have been declared employees, will they be subject to the FLSA? Who will decide if they are salary non-exempt or exempt from OT regulations? If they are non-exempt, will the football players be required to clock in and out? It will also be interesting to see if they are being paid  minimum wage or overtime as required by the FLSA. The Advi$or’s guess is that they may not be.

2. Minor League baseball players have filed a lawsuit against Major League Baseball claiming that they are not paid minimum wage as required by the FLSA. According to the suit, minor league ballplayers are paid as little as $3,000 to 7,500 for their 5 month season (plus per diems) .  Players are often required to work 50 to 70 hours per week.  The suit claims that players are not paid minimum wage nor are they paid overtime wages. The suit also notes that minor league  contracts limit freedom of movement by the player for up to seven years even though the League can cancel a players contract at any time for any reason without any prior notice.   Efforts to unionize the minor league players have been stifled by fear of retaliation from the Major League teams. Currently the minor leagues consist of up to 6000 non-union players.

Sports teams, both professional and amateur, may soon have to increase the size of their payroll departments.


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