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Iciss Tillis for Global Sport Matters - Why a College Athlete Union Seems Inevitable – and How it Could Work

March 10, 2022

Global Sport Matters

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Former WNBA player Iciss Tillis, now an attorney at Hall Estill, discusses Why a College Athlete Union Seems Inevitable – and How it Could Work with Global Sports Matters.

Ultimately, the NCPA wants the NLRB to do what it declined to do in the Northwestern case. “That’s exactly what's going on,” says Iciss Tillis, a former Duke University and Women’s National Basketball Association player who now practices at the law firm Hall Estill.

It’s possible that things would unfold differently today, when college athlete rights are a hot-button issue and schools probably would be subject to major public relations problems if they adopted aggressive and overt union-busting tactics. I asked Tillis how her school would have responded to a union drive when she played at Duke in the 2000s. “Back then, people weren’t ready for it, and I don’t think it would’ve gone over well,” she says.

And now?

“Yes, because of the momentum, all the studies and stuff that are out there,” she says. “People understand that they can’t continue to justify not paying the athletes anything.”