Bill: Athletes not state employees

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The ongoing battle for labor rights and unionization shifted to a new state, as an Ohio legislative panel changed a budget bill to clarify that student-athletes would not be considered employees of a state university.

The proposal comes in response to the ruling from the regional director of the National Labor Relations Board that football players at Northwestern could form a union, which the Ohio House Finance and Appropriations Committee could prevent in its state if the amendment passes.

A committee vote is scheduled for Tuesday and could be voted on by the full House on Wednesday.

"I think this is a statement of what we all thought was obvious," House Appropriations Committee Chairman Ron Amstutz said, according to Cleveland.com. "Athletes are not employees of their university."

Amstutz added that the change could have little impact, according to The Associated Press, "but if it ever comes up, it will be in the law for clarification."

Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer last week indicated that he hadn't been closely following the Northwestern case, but he echoed the sentiments of the proposal and doesn't consider his players to be employees.

"I don't feel that at all," Meyer said. "What I do feel, I've always been pro-student and students should get more than what they get, but it gets so complicated. I'm so focused on our team, I've read a little bit of it, I've watched it when it comes on, but to say I've immersed myself in that situation, I haven't.

"To say that they could go out and get their own shoe contracts or those kinds of things, you know, I start hearing that and I wonder what that would do for this great sport. And really, what would that do for college athletics as a whole?"