College athletes are getting closer to becoming employees. What would happen next?

March 4, 2024 – Media Mention
The Athletic

Irwin Kishner, co-chair of Herrick's Sports Law Group, spoke to The Athletic about the potential for college athletes to be treated as employees and discussed the concurrent legal battles challenging the principle of amateurism espoused in the NCAA. The article further notes that after speaking to nearly a dozen sports law experts, "every single one considers it an inevitability that college athletes will eventually be considered employees." While the specific employment model has not yet been identified, it is now a matter of when this change will occur, not if. 

The article highlights several pending matters, including issues involving NIL deals in recruiting, federal antitrust laws and players' unionization efforts. 

"There are going to be a lot of growing pains," said Kishner.

"Making [student athletes] employees is one of those ways of mandating appropriate compensation for athletes," noted Kishner. "The issue becomes of you are applying that to a university that has, let's say 18 separate programs . . .  which do not necessitate the same hundreds of millions of dollars, or have the same level of interest, the same economics. If you have to pay the athletes salaries commensurate with that, it will likely cause universities to look at programs with a much sharper eye and say, 'Well I'm only going to fund five of these programs because I'm losing too much money,'" 

Read the full article in The Athletic here. Access may require a subscription.