The governor just forbade them. Blake Neff of the Daily Caller has the story.

Michigan Bans Student Athlete Unions

Athletes at Michigan universities are prohibited from unionizing under a new law signed Tuesday by Gov. Rick Snyder.

The law, hastily introduced and passed by Michigan Republicans during the state legislature’s lame-duck session, requires that all athletes at a school be classified as “students” rather than “employees.” Since only employees can form a union, that option is effectively closed off to Michigan athletes now.

Snyder’s office said the change sends the message that Michigan athletes should focus on academics.

“The bill would ensure that college athletes are students, first and foremost, and should not be treated as employees by their schools,” said Snyder’s office in a statement accompanying his signature. Other supporters have said the law will protect non-athlete students from paying higher tuition rates to finance athlete salaries,

The law only applies to public colleges, as private unionization is overseen by federal law and the National Labor Relations Board rather than state statutes.