The National Labor Relations Board granted Northwestern's request to review a regional director's ruling that the school's scholarship football players are employees and can unionize.
In a one-paragraph announcement Thursday, the NLRB said Northwestern's appeal this month "raises substantial issues warranting further review."
Northwestern's 50-page appeal asserted football players aren't recruited because of their athletic ability, time invested in college sports is voluntary and athletes are students, not employees.
No schedule has been set for the review.
Northwestern's football players are scheduled to vote Friday to form a union in an effort backed by the College Athletes Players Assn. The votes, however, will be impounded until the appeal process is completed.