The organization issued a statement on its website after Wednesday's landmark ruling by a regional director of National Labor Relations Board that players are deemed employees under federal law.
The statement says that the NCAA strongly disagrees that student-athletes are employees. It also says student-athletes play "for the love of their sport, not to be paid."
Union lawyers argued the Big Ten school's football players are part of a commercial enterprise that generates hefty profits through their labor.
They also likened scholarships to employment pay, while Northwestern described scholarship as grants.
The NCAA says improvements are needed, but there is no need to abandon the current system.
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