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Apr 02, 2014 03:07 PM EDT

Northwestern Football Unionization: Kain Colter and Ramogi Huma Arrive in D.C.; Could NFL and NBA Minor League Systems Solve it All?


Former Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter and CAPA president Ramogi Huma have arrived on Capitol Hill for their private hearings with lawmakers to try and gain support in their movement to unionize college sports.

According to NBC Chicago, Colter and Huma, co-founders the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA), are meeting Ill. Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Jan Schakowsky Wednesday. The two are also scheduled for meetings Thursday.

"The number one thing is just raising awareness and getting people in our corner," Colter told NBC Chicago. "Especially people with this amount of status and the power that they do have, it'd be great to have their support."

Last week, the National Labor Rights Board (NLRB) in Chicago ruled that the group of Northwestern football players under scholarship and eligible to play this season may form a union. Northwestern University is expected to appeal the ruling in Washington, prompting Colter and Huma's visit. It is unclear which or how many schools will follow suit and try to establish a union for their programs.

Since the ruling, at least one solution has been offered to make a college athletes union useless and also accomplish what student-athlete rights advocates would want. The NFL and NBA would have to adopt the minor league system used by the MLB and NHL.

"It's the solution that nobody will want," Ebenezer Samuel wrote for the New York Daily News. "But it just may be the most logical solution of all."

The NFL requires players to wait three football seasons after high school before entering the draft while the NBA only requires one. To make a minor league system work, the NBA would have to revamp its Developmental League and the NFL would need to put a brand new league in place.

The NCAA and schools with major Division I basketball and football programs would vehemently oppose the idea. Compared to those two sports, college baseball is basically irrelevant. With the top players and top coaches going to these minor league teams, the NCAA risks losing tons of viewers for bowl season and March Madness.

It is essentially too good a compromise because young basketball and football players an alternative to the college game and the NCAA can only profit on student-athletes who want to be in school.

The NCAA is seemingly going to be forced to restructure their amateur model, but president Mark Emmert has stated several times he does not want to budge on that principle. The NCAA will not be able to pay players in one sport and not have to pay players in every other sport.

The NFL, NBA and NCAA need a solution and the minor leagues has worked wonderfully for baseball's global reach, as it does for soccer and hockey, and all three sports scout and sign teenagers regularly.

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