Kain Colter

With labor hearings in the books, waiting game begins for players union


The arguments have been made and the hearings have concluded. The potentially landmark decision on whether or not student-athletes should be identified as employees of a university is expected to come in a matter of weeks, with the ruling likely to determine the fate of the college players union movement.

On Monday the hearings in Chicago came to a close with representatives for Northwestern University contesting the argument that student-athletes should be considered employees, a label that would allow for the formation of a players union. The school closed the hearings by offering testimony from three former football players siding with the university;s side of the legal battle. Former Northwestern offensive lineman Doug Bartels, long snapper John Henry Pace and offensive tackle Patrick Ward all testified it was the coaching staff at Northwestern that aided them in achieving their academic goals while satisfying their football requirements. Bartels earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees and is enrolled in a medical college. Pace is an engineer designing the latest Ford Mustang. Ward is a structural engineer at Boeing and was the only one of the three former players on a scholarship at Northwestern when he played according to the Chicago Sun Times.

The testimony of the former players was critical in nullifying the stance presented by Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter, who last week said in the labor hearings his path to achieving his ultimate academic goals are inhibited by his role with the football program. Colter is the head player representative of the College Athletes Players Association, recently formed by members of Northwestern’s football team. If successful in these early stages of the legal battle, CAPA will be able to open doors for athletes around the country to have their voices heard on a number of issues within their respective sport, although Colter and other current Northwestern players are unlikely to benefit from it any time soon because this will be a drawn out process. The first major step is now behind them, and a ruling awaits.

Now a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board will review the information gathered in the hearings over the past week to determine if players should be considered employees. That decision is expected to be made within the next four to six weeks.

Auburn dismisses WR D’haquille Williams

at Georgia Dome on September 5, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Getty Images

The turbulent career of one of the most talented wide receivers in the country, at least at Auburn, has come to an end.

Monday night, Gus Malzahn surprisingly — and not so surprisingly — announced that D’haquille Williams has been dismissed from the football program. No specific reason for the dismissal was given.

“When individuals fail to meet the expectations of our program, there has to be consequences,” Malzahn said in a statement. “I gave D’haquille the chance to prove himself. I am disappointed that it did not work out.”

Williams was suspended from AU’s bowl game against Wisconsin last year because of unspecified violations of team rules. After participating in spring practice, he was suspended for the early part of summer camp before being reinstated in the middle of August.

The senior had played in all four games this season, catching 12 passes for 147 yards. The former total is second on the team, the latter third.

Despite playing in just 10 of 13 games last season — in addition to the suspension, he missed two games with a knee injury — Williams led the Tigers with 45 receptions and five receiving touchdowns. His 730 receiving yards were second on the team.

The media tapped him as a first-team All-SEC preseason selection coming off that season.

USC’s Pat Haden sent UCLA’s Myles Jack a post-injury letter

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 03:  USC Athletic Director Pat Haden addresses the audience during the press conference to introduce Andy Enfield as USC's new basketball head coach on April 3, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Pat Haden may have a growing number of detractors in Southern California, but that hasn’t stopped him from showing a personal touch off the field.

Myles Jack, one of the most talented linebackers in not only the Pac-12 but also the country, sustained a season-ending knee injury in UCLA’s Week 3 win over BYU.  That injury may or may not have ended Jack’s collegiate career as he will be eligible for the 2016 NFL draft.

On his Instagram account Monday, Jack shared a letter of support from one of his admirers, who also happens to be the athletic director of UCLA’s bitter rival USC.

Pat Haden Myles Jack

While it’s not the handwritten variety one Big 12 coach would prefer, it’s still a classy gesture nonetheless on the part of Haden.