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RE: Wow!!! Penn track and field athletes sue claiming they are entitled to minimum wage - Court disagrees
Whether or not they are considered employees is important as far as liability.

If an athlete is injured (think football), the school is liable if he is an employee. There is no liability if he is not an employee.

What has happened in the past is that school football players have been permanently injured and unable to ever work again and the schools have been held not liable for any payments because the athlete was not considered to be employees.

"Memo: College football players are employees"

http://watchdog.org/278653/memo-college-football-players-employees/

"players are statutory employees under the National Labor Relations Act."

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