In the weeks since Peter Sung Ohr, the director of the regional office of the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago, ruled that scholarship football players at Northwestern with remaining eligibility are employees and directed an election to take place that will decide whether they can unionize, speculation has swirled that alumni would try to influence the vote.
Coach Pat Fitzgerald and multiple players – including quarterback Trevor Siemian, who said players erred in not conferring with Fitzgerald and athletic director Jim Phillips before allowing a ‘third party’ to get involved – have gone public with their intention to side against the College Athletes Players Organization. And there are other people connected to the University who believe collective bargaining is not the right vehicle for the players to gain more rights and protections.
But there are some alumni who are committed to advancing the players’ agenda. Led by Kevin Brown, a defensive back at NU in the 1980s, an advocacy group composed of former players and alumni will be formed before the union vote. The Daily Northwestern reported that the group will not try to influence the election.