Updated Tue, May 20, 2014 2:42 pm
An Ohio legislative panel is nearing a vote on a budget proposal saying college athletes aren't employees under state law.
The employee status of full-scholarship football players became an issue in March, after a federal labor official ruled Northwestern University players can be considered employees and thus form a union.
The ruling is being appealed. If it holds, it could have widespread repercussions in the multibillion-dollar college sports industry.
The Ohio provision's supporters say the change could have little immediate effect, but would clarify state law if the employment issue arises. The Ohio AFL-CIO is opposed.
An Ohio Senate committee is expected to vote on legislation containing the provision Tuesday. The bill already cleared the House.
Some Northwestern players say they voted against organizing. Results of their election weren't released.