COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio lawmakers have passed a budget proposal that says college athletes are not public employees under state law.
The idea cleared the state Legislature Wednesday as part of a broader bill now headed to the governor's desk. Gov. John Kasich is expected to sign it.
The employee status of full-scholarship football players became an issue in March, after a federal labor official ruled Northwestern University football players are employees and have a right to unionize.
If the appealed ruling holds, it could have widespread repercussions in the multibillion-dollar college sports industry.
Supporters of the Ohio provision say it could have little immediate effect but would clarify state law if the issue arises.
The Northwestern players voted on unionization April 25, but the ballots are sealed until after the appeals process.