The Dartmouth men’s basketball team has taken a historic first step in challenging the norms of college athletics, voting Tuesday to unionize. 

The team voted 13-2 to join Service Employees International Union Local 560, which already represents some of the school’s employees, in an election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board.

“Today is a big day for our team,” Dartmouth juniors Cade Haskins and Romeo Myrthil said, via The Associated Press. 

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“We stuck together all season and won this election. 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.”

The vote to unionize was met with immediate pushback from the school, which quickly filed an appeal to the NLRB with hopes of overturning a decision last month that set the grounds for this week’s vote. 

“For Ivy League students who are varsity athletes, academics are of primary importance, and athletic pursuit is part of the educational experience,” the school said in a statement. 

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“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.”

Some have praised the vote, including Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark who released a statement praising the team’s efforts. 

“The MLBPA applauds the Dartmouth men’s basketball players for their courage and leadership in the movement to establish and advance the rights of college athletes,” Clark said. 

“By voting to unionize, these athletes have an unprecedented seat at the table and a powerful voice with which to negotiate for rights and benefits that have been ignored for far too long.” 

This is just the latest in the ever-evolving landscape of college athletes. If successful, Dartmouth men’s basketball would be the first program in NCAA history to unionize. 

Dartmouth had filed a motion to delay this week’s vote unsuccessfully. Now, both sides will have until March 12 to file an objection over the election procedures.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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