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Pat Fitzgerald wants Northwestern players to vote “no” on union

Pat Fitzgerald AP

Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald wants the best for his football players, but he does not want them to vote in favor of a players union later this month. Fitzgerald is encouraging his players to hear his views and take that with them when it comes time to vote on whether or not the players will form a union, a right that has been granted by a ruling last week by the National Labor Relations Board.

“We want to make sure that they have all the information, so that’s a process we’re starting to work through right now,” Fitzgerald said before a spring practice Saturday, according to the Big Ten Network. “I’m honored to have that opportunity with our guys and we’ll work through it day by day.”

This is all unique territory of course. No coach has ever had to lead his program through spring practices while knowing his players are either focused on or discussing the idea of starting a players union. Fitzgerald is not going to stand in the way of his players and their desires, but he does want them to make their decisions with as much information as possible.

“I’m very proud of them for trying to work for national change, I’m incredibly proud of them – I’ve been greatly outspoken about that,” Fitzgerald said. “My job is to help educate them, my staff’s job is to help educate them, our athletic department our university, and to find other folks who can tell them what this means, potentially.”

Northwestern players will vote on April 25 on whether or not they will take the next step in forming a union at Northwestern University. The school has already stated they will appeal the ruling by the regional NLRB office in Chicago.

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16 Responses to “Pat Fitzgerald wants Northwestern players to vote “no” on union”
  1. drewsylvania says: Apr 5, 2014 3:39 PM

    Mouthpiece for his NCAA overlords.

  2. jimr10 says: Apr 5, 2014 3:40 PM

    Good way to ruin college football…

  3. ytownjoe says: Apr 5, 2014 4:34 PM

    He should education his players how revenue to Northwestern has increased 10-fold while players continue receiving the same tuition, room and board that scholarship players received during the 1950s.

    He should also remind his players that scholarships are one-year deals and if they are injured they can be cut from the team and lose their scholarship.

  4. ralphross373 says: Apr 5, 2014 5:13 PM

    Let me think, Coach Fitzgerald is against the athlete-students being paid. Why doesn’t he teach a math class and volunteer his time free 50-60 hours a week to recruit players and to coach the team?

  5. barkleyblows says: Apr 5, 2014 5:50 PM

    Good. Make sure they end athletic scholarships, free room and board, free meals, and so on. Also, make sure these guys pay taxes on their income.

  6. millsieg says: Apr 5, 2014 5:56 PM

    Unionizing will serve to strengthen/grow Northwestern Football. This will draw Blue Chip recruits for a good education coupled with some Bartering value.
    But this weakens the Purity of the institution of intercollegiate competition. Big schools have upper hand in Recruiting. Northwestern has used their Law Dept to return the Program to Pat Fitzgerald acclaim. This changes the Game at this level forever. Opens up the Can for more value transfer.

  7. Professor Fate says: Apr 5, 2014 6:11 PM

    Of course he does. Hasn’t every CEO always wanted to operate without a union on the premises?

  8. jollyjoker2 says: Apr 5, 2014 6:43 PM

    yes , break your legs for the school with no recourse. They appreciate you.

  9. jollyjoker2 says: Apr 5, 2014 6:46 PM

    I wonder if owners of companies could get away with what he said? Hmm. I bet the dems would be throwing the corporate honchos’ under the bus. In this case, not a peep.

  10. auburntigers34 says: Apr 5, 2014 6:47 PM

    Looking forward to seeing how many men’s and women’s athletic programs are completely shut down when/if this union crap seizes the day.

    There’s no way that unions and Title IX can coexist. The golden goose doesn’t have that many eggs.

  11. manik56 says: Apr 5, 2014 9:13 PM

    Fitz is much more likely to leave NU because of the spoiled brats he coaches. Why would he want to put up with that?

  12. rcali says: Apr 6, 2014 1:26 AM

    Good Luck Coach! You’ll need it.

  13. floridacock says: Apr 6, 2014 8:13 AM

    These impressionable kids are being used by sleazy lawyers for the lawyers gain, no one else.

  14. ytownjoe says: Apr 6, 2014 10:32 PM

    Impressionable kids are used in every major college program to rake in millions with none of it going to the players earning it.

  15. seanb20124 says: Apr 7, 2014 7:15 AM

    Thought Big 10 instituted a 4 yr. no cut scholarship for the student athletes?

  16. southernpatriots says: Apr 11, 2014 9:09 PM

    Is there a major college football coach or athletic director who welcomes a union? Don’t make me laugh.

    If the athletes were offered scholarships and aid to total the cost of the 4 years of education, that would be a good start. Then athletes need to be offered a 4 yr. no cut scholarship (under certain perimeters, such as not failing out in classes, attending practices, etc.). If this were being done, I don’t think there would be a strong discussion now about unions.

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