Labor board gives Dartmouth’s trustees more time to appeal as athletes prepare for union vote

The National Labor Relations Board granted Dartmouth’s trustees extra time on Monday to request a review of a regional official’s ruling that the school’s men’s basketball players are employees.

The official’s ruling last week cleared the way for an election that could create the first labor union for NCAA athletes.

The labor relations board’s national office granted Dartmouth’s request to move the appeal deadline from Feb. 20 to March 5, which is the same day the players are scheduled to participate in an in-person election at the school’s Hanover, New Hampshire, campus.

All 15 members of Dartmouth’s basketball team signed the initial petition asking to be represented by the Service Employees International Union, which already represents some Dartmouth workers. One of the players, Romeo Myrthil, said Saturday following that team’s 77-59 loss to Harvard that he had no reason to expect anything different when the players vote.

The NCAA has long maintained players are “student-athletes” — a term created to emphasize education comes first. But the labor relations board’s regional director in Boston ruled Feb. 5 that the players were effectively employees of the school.

The outcome of the case could have wide-ranging implications for the definition of amateurism in college athletics.

In a previous case involving the Northwestern football team, the labor relations board overturned a regional official’s similar ruling on a technicality that doesn’t apply in the Dartmouth case.

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