EVANSTON, Ill. — Scholarship players on Northwestern's football team cast their votes on Friday morning at McGaw Hall on whether to be represented by a union. However, the result of their votes is not supposed to be released until the school's appeal on whether the players can unionize is heard by the National Labor Relations Board.
An e-mail sent by Wildcats head coach Pat Fitzgerald to his players showed that he believes players do not need a union. Earlier this spring, quarterback Trevor Siemian also voiced his opinion that players don't need a union. Some supporters of the union movement fear that some NU players may have been pressured to vote 'No.'
Of course, all eyes are on Evanston today because a regional director of the NLRB ruled in March that Northwestern's scholarship football players are university employees. NU appealed that ruling to the NLRB's national office, which agreed to review the case. The ballots cast today by the scholarship players are supposed to remain secret until the NLRB rules on the appeal, and the timetable of the appeal is unknown. It could be days, weeks or potentially even months. But, no matter the result of the union vote or the appeal, Friday will go down as a landmark day in the history of collegiate athletics.
Dave Miller, the college football editor and writer for the National Football Post, is on Twitter @Miller_Dave.