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Top five Northwestern sports moments of 2014: No. 2: Kain Colter starts a union

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With his Northwestern career over, the former Wildcat QB turned his eye toward NCAA reform

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Starting on Saturday, Dec. 27, InsideNU will be counting down the top five moments of the year in Northwestern sports. With an emphasis on the revenue sports, and from games to controversies to championships, we'll bring you one moment per day in descending order, with the top moment of 2014 being revealed on New Year's Eve.

I remember reading the original story in a journalism lecture class on Jan. 28, 2014. I was sitting behind my future co-manager Henry Bushnell. We both read through the Outside the Lines article, which, in its original version, spelled Kain Colter's name wrong in some places, but nonetheless, we turned to each other in disbelief.

Most people covering the team knew that Colter had a view of college athletics that looked past the playing field. That much was revealed when he wore the All Players United wristbands in a 2013 game against Maine. But few knew he would take it this far: spur a watershed moment upon the NCAA through articulate and careful legal arguments that would establish Northwestern's scholarship football players as employees of the University in a regional National Labor Relations Board decision.

By now you probably know all there is to know about this, and have made up your mind as to how you feel about the union itself. And, unlike the other events on this list, it could be seen as a largely ugly moment in the history of Northwestern sports. But, let's be clear here, it was in no way the ugliest.

In truth, I would have insisted that this event should have been the top moment of 2014, if it wasn't for the fact that the national branch of the NLRB has yet to release its decision. It's clearly the most important for Northwestern and quite possibly the most important moment in all of collegiate sports this year. But, if we're ranking moments, this moment isn't even quite complete.

This is a battle that could go on for years, depending on the outcome of this upcoming decision, how the players voted and what other school(s) pick up the torch and run with it. But it could also end the second the decision is issued.

We may call this a moment now, but in years to come we could look back on this as a movement. Only time will tell.

Moments are fleeting, aren't they?