Northwestern quarterback says 'confident' of unionization vote
By Amanda Becker
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Northwestern University quarterback who is behind a push to unionize the school's football team said on Thursday he is "very confident" that his teammates will vote on April 25 to join the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA).
Kain Colter, a senior at Northwestern, appeared on a panel and took questions in Washington, D.C., along with CAPA co-founder Ramogi Huma, a former University of California-Los Angeles football player who now advocates for student athletes.
The two met earlier in the week with congressional lawmakers to talk about the Northwestern players' novel effort to form what could be the first labor union for U.S. college athletes.
"The hard part is over," Colter said of the upcoming vote, noting most of his teammates had signed pledge cards, which triggered the election.
"The key thing is these players aren't voting for themselves ... they're voting for future generations," he added.
The drive that Colter and Huma are heading has triggered a national debate about college athletes and their treatment by schools and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), with some condemning the union effort and others praising it.
It began late last month when a regional director with the U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) said the Northwestern football players were effectively employees of the school and could therefore vote on whether to unionize.
The players spend 40 to 50 hours a week during the regular season practicing, playing and traveling to games, and each get scholarships worth about $61,000 per year, the NLRB said. Continued...