Notre Dame football conference independence carries major legal weight with NLRB violation

Sep 17, 2016; South Bend, IN, USA;  close up view of Norte Dame logo on goal post prior to a game
Sep 17, 2016; South Bend, IN, USA; close up view of Norte Dame logo on goal post prior to a game / Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

The Notre Dame football program's conference independence reportedly carries legal weight as the university faces ramifications of violating section 8 of the National Labor Relations Act; with the school allegedly misclassifying its athletes as “student-athletes” when they are employees, per Sportico's Michael McCann and Daniel Libit.

"The football team’s independence could carry sizable legal significance," McCann and Libit prefaced before saying, "When the NLRB declined to exercise jurisdiction in the Northwestern matter, the agency’s five board members highlighted that Northwestern is a private college that plays in a conference (the Big Ten) where the other schools are public and thus governed by varying state labor laws. The NLRB viewed that prospect as a potentially disruptive arrangement, since some of the schools might not be deemed employees under their respective state laws, while Northwestern football players would be employees and potentially union members."

McCann and Libit note that this case could be pushed further along with NLRB general council Jennifer Abruzzo potentially losing her job with the potential election of Donald Trump this coming November.

That may not be the only process expedited involving the Notre Dame football program's conference independence.

Notre Dame football joining the Big Ten can happen sooner than later with NLRB legal troubles

Notre Dame's ongoing issues with the NLRB seem to put pressure on the Fighting Irish to join the Big Ten sooner rather than later. Doing so would give them the same legal protection Northwestern had with their NLRB issues.

The Fighting Irish are trailing behind in the television contract arms race, and with the Big Ten adding one of their primary historical rivals, USC, there's never been a better time to become B1G.

Notre Dame has long clung to college football independence, but the time is now to relinquish that in favor of avoiding any more NLRB violations, and most of all, profits.