Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - The world of college athletics has experienced monumental changes over the past few years with NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness) contracts and the well-used transfer portal leading the way.

Now, the Dartmouth men’s basketball team has voted to become members of the college staff with salaries and benefits possible.

When that news broke, I called University of Montana Athletic Director Kent Haslam to get his reaction to what was happening at that private college in New Hampshire.

UM's AD Kent Haslam on Student Athletes Becoming 'Employees'

“The Dartmouth vote by the men's basketball team was certainly interesting to watch from afar,” began Haslam. “Several months ago, the National Labor Relations Board came out that they supported student-athletes being able to unionize and declare themselves as employees. However, they don't have really any authority except with private schools. So public schools, (like the University of Montana) are not nearly as concerned about that. But this whole topic idea around student-athletes becoming employees is something where certainly there's a lot of downstream impact on both the student-athletes and the universities.”

Haslam said becoming an ‘employee’ of the school dramatically changes the relationship between the school and the student-athlete.

Becoming an Employee would Bring Huge Changes for a Student Athlete

“You know any of us who have been employees we know that relationship changes dramatically when it comes to taxes, and when it comes to all the other things that come in with being an employee,” he said. “Are we able to fire a student athlete are we able to trade a student athlete or to do those things that happen in a professional sports world? Do we want that in the college in the college arena?”

Haslam said with the recent changes mentioned above, student-athletes do have a real advantage as they prepare for their professional careers.

READ MORE: New NIL Exchange Helps Montana Griz Student-Athletes

Haslam said Student Athletes Already Receive Great Opportunities

“The student-athletes certainly have great opportunities to further their education,” he said. “In many cases, a portion or all of their education is being paid for providing all of the equipment and the training and the medical care and all those other things that go into supporting student-athletes as they pursue their degree. I feel strongly that if student-athletes get designated as employees, it will, essentially change dramatically what the college athletic model is and what we can provide as opportunities."

Every Montana/Montana State Player in the NFL For 2023

Wondering where former Bobcat and Griz players are in the NFL? Here are all the players trying to make the NFL this preseason.

Gallery Credit: Will Gordon

More From Newstalk KGVO 1290 AM & 98.3 FM