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Kain Colter leads charge for college players union

Johnny Vy/ NFL
Kain Colter is attempting to organize a union for college football players.

While NFL draft prospects like Kain Colter are hard at work training to better their own futures, Colter himself has his focus on bettering the futures of future college players.

The Northwestern quarterback, who briefly practiced at the Senior Bowl as a wide receiver before withdrawing for medical reasons, has gathered enough signatures on the Northwestern football team to go forward with a petition to the National Labor Relations Board for union representation, according to National College Players Association president Ramogi Huma formally filed the petition Tuesday morning in Chicago on behalf of Colter and his teammates. According to Huma, an "overwhelming majority" of Northwestern players signed the petition, although only 26 were needed (30 percent) for its official validation.

"This is about finally giving college athletes a seat at the table. Athletes deserve an equal voice when it comes to their physical, academic and financial protections," Huma said.

Among other benefits, the group seeks improved concussion care for college football players, as well as scholarships that cover the full cost of attendance at a given institution. Colter was among a small group of players from various schools who protested with game-worn wristbands last season.

Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald sent out a tweet on Tuesday expressing support for the actions of Colter and the other Wildcats players.

The NCAA crafted a statement from chief legal officer Donald Remy, which said in part: "This union-backed attempt to turn student-athletes into employees undermines the purpose of college: an education. Student-athletes are not employees, and their participation in college sports is voluntary. We stand for all student-athletes, not just those the unions want to professionalize."

"The NCAA is a train wreck waiting to happen," said Tim Waters of United Steelworkers, which is backing the NCPA effort. "What brought them to this moment is they couldn't control their greed. They put all this money in the system."

Colter, meanwhile, will reportedly undergo ankle surgery this week and require 8-12 weeks of recovery before working out for NFL scouts in late April. But it sounds as though he'll be more occupied with the football careers of others than his own.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.



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