New labor union courts U.S. college football players

Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:03pm EST
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By Amanda Becker

(Reuters) - A new labor union is being formed for U.S. college athletes, and football players at Northwestern University in Chicago are looking to get onboard, the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA) announced Tuesday.

An "overwhelming majority" of Northwestern's scholarship football players have notified the U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that they are seeking representation with CAPA, the group said in a statement.

The filing of the petitions is a preliminary step that could lead to the student athletes joining what is believed to be the first labor organization of its kind, with backing from the United Steelworkers union (USW).

CAPA's founder and president is Ramogi Huma, a former University of California-Los Angeles football player who previously founded the National College Players Association (NCPA) to advocate for college athletes.

The NCPA backed a first-of-its-kind law in California that required colleges in the state who get more than $10 million annually in sports media revenue to pay for athletes' sports-related medical care, among other student protections.

CAPA's priorities will be to secure similar coverage for current and former college athletes' sports-related medical expenses, minimize the risk of sports-related traumatic brain injury and improve graduation rates, according to the group.

"These athletes generate billions of dollars per year that pay coaches and athletic administrators multimillion-dollar salaries," Huma said in a statement.

"Despite the extraordinary value they bring to their universities, they are too often left to pay sports-related medical expenses during and after their college careers, and can be stripped of their scholarships for any reason including injury," Huma added.   Continued...