Updated Mar 5, 2024 - Sports

Dartmouth men's basketball becomes first unionized team in NCAA

Dartmouth Big Green players huddle during an NCAA men's basketball game on Feb. 16 in New York. Photo: Adam Gray/Getty Images

The Dartmouth men's basketball team moved to unionize Tuesday with a historic vote.

Why it matters: The players at the Ivy League school in Hanover, New Hampshire became the first NCAA team to unionize in the country in a watershed moment for college athletics.

  • The vote means they will be allowed to negotiate on issues like compensation, benefits and working conditions, including the number of hours they practice.

State of play: The university filed a request for review with the National Labor Relations Board on Tuesday, a spokesperson told Axios.

  • Dartmouth said in a statement that while it respects the five unions it negotiates with, the students on the men's basketball team "are not in any way employed" by the school.
  • "For Ivy League students who are varsity athletes, academics are of primary importance, and athletic pursuit is part of the educational experience," the statement reads. "Classifying these students as employees simply because they play basketball is as unprecedented as it is inaccurate. We, therefore, do not believe unionization is appropriate."

What they're saying: "Today is a big day for our team," players Cade Haskins and Romeo Myrthil said in a statement per AP.

  • "We stuck together all season and won this election," they said. "It is self-evident that we, as students, can also be both campus workers and union members. Dartmouth seems to be stuck in the past. It's time for the age of amateurism to end."

Catch up quick: The team launched a petition in September seeking to join others at the college in becoming members of the Local 560 of the Service Employees International Union.

  • A National Labor Relations Board official ruled last month that the players are employees of the university and therefore had the right to unionize.

The big picture: Public opinion has shifted in favor of compensating college athletes in recent years.

  • In December, the NCAA proposed new rules that would allow schools to directly pay college athletes for the first time.
  • College athletes have historically been barred under NCAA rules from receiving compensation beyond scholarships and some related costs of education.

Go deeper: Caitlin Clark sets NCAA women's basketball all-time scoring record

Editor's note: This story has been updated with the latest news.

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