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Northwestern’s Fitzgerald had to testify against his players

Pat Fitzgerald AP

Because the College Athletes Players Association argues a relationship between a player and his coach should be considered an employee-employer relationship, Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald was asked to testify against his players on Friday.

The players union formed by Northwestern football players has been in court this week with the hope of being able to move forward with their unionization plans. To do that they must get a court to rule in their favor about how student athletes should be classified. If they can get a ruling to determine they should be classified as employees of Northwestern University, the next stage may begin. One of the key witnesses turned out to be Fitzgerald, who continued to side with the official university line that players should not be considered employees of the university.

“We take pride in developing our men to be the best they can be in everything they choose to do,” Fitzgerald said, according to USA Today. “Our goals are simple: We want to graduate 100% of our players and prepare them for life, and we want to compete for championships.”

The legal team representing the players argued a head coach should be classified as an employer because it is he who ultimately controls the compensation for the player. A coach can pull a scholarship at any time from a player, for example. Fitzgerald stated that is an unlikely situation at Northwestern, but he could not dispute that fact, which is written out in the team rules.

As USA Today points out, it seems as though Northwestern and the players are arguing from two different angles. Northwestern continues to defend their policies by arguing they put academics first, but the players are attempting to prove the players have no representation under any circumstances in which a coach treats the players or the team unfairly. Nobody has accused Northwestern or Fitzgerald of any wrong doing. The players are simply looking to set a precedent that will benefit their cause in the long term.

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8 Responses to “Northwestern’s Fitzgerald had to testify against his players”
  1. spreadthecheese says: Feb 21, 2014 11:12 PM

    So Fitzgerald will pull the scholarship offer of a committed player if that player visits another school because he values loyalty, yet he’ll testify against his own players.

    Stay classy, Fitzy.

  2. psly2124 says: Feb 22, 2014 1:09 AM

    Where are these players getting there union dues? Are they prepared to be taxed on there scholarship, like salary. I don’t think so. They can’t have it both ways.

  3. bigdinla says: Feb 22, 2014 8:48 AM

    This is another case of a lawyer talking stupid people into killing their golden goose.

  4. addict2sport says: Feb 22, 2014 9:28 AM

    These players are really doing to regret it if they do end up starting a Union. They don’t think they have money for pizza now? Wait til taxes and union dues kick in.

  5. dg0122 says: Feb 22, 2014 10:09 AM

    $EC coaches are praying that they don’t have to spend time testifying against their players… they wouldn’t have time to do anything else. …different types of cases than this Northwestern deal though

  6. irishdodger says: Feb 22, 2014 10:15 AM

    They’re pushing for a union at a time when it’s become apparent that unions are a dinosaur & an impediment to employment. I wonder if these kids were paying attention to VW employees turning down the UAW? Maybe they should tour Detroit or research what the UAW has done to once great American companies like GM. The employees are pawns…not the bad guys. The Union officials are a bunch of hammer & sickle wielding bureaucrats siphoning hard earned money from Americans & into their coffers.

  7. tipstopten says: Feb 22, 2014 11:59 AM

    College football unions would ruin the sport. If a coach wanted to have a player play both ways I guess he would have to get Union approval. Give the player living money and move on.

  8. tngilmer says: Feb 23, 2014 7:31 PM

    How about just abolish all athletic scholarships and make the players pay their own way or earn need or academic scholarships. This would serve the purpose of putting them on equal footing will all the other students and would weed out a thug element who could not make the grades anyway.

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