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Apr 08, 2014 03:28 PM EDT

Northwestern Scholarship Football Players May Not Vote in Favor of a Union; CAPA Remains Optimistic


The National Labor Rights Board (NLRB) may have allowed Northwestern University's football players on a scholarship to unionize, but that does not mean they will uphold the ruling.

According to ESPN's "Outside the Lines" (OTL), multiple veteran players on the team have indicated they would vote against forming a union for the team. Still, College Athletes Players Association (CAPA) president Ramogi Huma is confident the team will eventually for a union.

"The reasons they signed the union cards are as valid as ever," Huma told OTL. "I'm still optimistic. When these guys signed up, an overwhelming majority of them did so."

Northwestern head football coach Pat Fitzgerald has been in a tricky situation throughout the entire process. He has opposed the movement to unionize while maintaining a relationship with the players on his team, including Kain Colter, the team's former quarterback.

"I believe it's in their best interests to vote no," Fitzgerald told ESPN Saturday after a team practice. "With the research that I've done, I'm going to stick to the facts and I'm going to do everything in my power to educate our guys. Our university is going to do that. We'll give them all the resources they need to get the facts."

Mark Emmert, the NCAA's president, followed Sunday, calling the NLRB's ruling "grossly inappropriate."

There are 76 players on the team eligible to vote in a union election, which will not be held until the NLRB upholds its decision after Northwestern's appeal is heard. CAPA would need any sort of majority to form a union on the team.

"We've been in contact with the guys. We're going to maintain contact through the vote," Huma said of his and Colter's interaction with the players still on the team. "We're not doing much media or going into details [about their efforts].

"We have the choice of focusing on the media or focusing on the vote, and we're focusing on the vote."

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