Ohio Senate: College Athletes Not Public Employees

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State senators have passed an Ohio budget bill that says college athletes are not public employees under state law.

The idea was part of a broader bill that awaits approval by the House before it goes to the governor's desk.

The employee status of full-scholarship football players became an issue in March, after a federal labor official ruled Northwestern University football players are employees and have a right to unionize. If the appealed ruling holds, it could have widespread repercussions in the multibillion-dollar college sports industry.

Supporters of the Ohio provision say it could have little immediate effect but would clarify state law if the issue arises.

The Northwestern players voted on unionization April 25, but the ballots are sealed until after the appeals process.