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CU Boulder Athletic Director already learning about employee “risk mitigation”

In the wake of a major labor ruling that said college athletes can unionize, CU’s Athletic director Rick George received a preliminary rundown of risks and liabilities that might result.

The “complications” email came from Mary K. Braza, an attorney with the Foley and Lardner legal firm in Wisconsin, and says:

If the decision holds up, the rationale of the decision creates some immediate liability to any university that has scholarship athlete such as:

  • Scholarships could become taxable income to the recipients
  • If scholarship athletes are in fact employees
    • they must be paid minimum wage and overtime for all hours spent devoted to their employment. This would include mandatory study halls, weight training and any time the student was restricted to campus, dorm or hotel. This creates huge potential liability under federal and state law
    • OSHA and workers compensation liability will attach to injuries. There are criminal penalites for failure to have worker’s compensation for “employees.”
    • Child labor laws will apply
    • The intersection between Title IX and anti-discrimination laws will create complications. Sexual segregation in sports may will [sic] be challenged. Disabled individuals could demand reasonable accommodations.
    • The rules of conduct which most teams apply to student athletes could likely be found to be unfair labor practices under the NLRA regardless if a union is present.

Interesting notes from other emails:

AD George said “Not sure I should do this…” when discussing an invitation for a radio interview with local news/talk station 710 KNUS.

A Pac-12 messaging rundown said “we are moving from the stand-by statement we used yesterday to a proactive messaging strategy…”

A man named Don Schopp has offered to pay for AD George and, apparently, other AD s across the country to convene in Phoenix, on Schopp’s dime, to discuss the emerging situation in college athletics.

The full batch of emails obtained by a Colorado Open Records Act request are posted in full below.

CU Athletics Emails re: Northwestern ruling, unionization

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