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Alumni meet to discuss union

Former and current Northwestern football players met Wednesday night to air opinions and concerns regarding the union vote scheduled for April 25.

The Daily Northwestern’s Alex Putterman (@AlexPutt02) and The New York Times’ Ben Strauss (@bstrauss1) were at the meeting for at least a portion of it before, according to Putterman, they were asked to leave.

According to what the two reported, the meeting centered around the issue of alumni interfering in the union vote by threatening players to vote “no.”

According to Putterman’s account, it seemed that “almost everyone who spoke up seemed in agreement that a union was not the proper way to deal with issues confronting college athletes.”

Preceding the meeting, alumni met with Fitzgerald to discuss the union possibility.

Putterman also tweeted about the meeting with Fitzgerald, as he wrote, “Fitz made no promises to alums but said ‘You know my past. I'm for change.’”

Along with an account of the meeting, Strauss’ article also includes this telling anecdote from former Northwestern player Chris Hinton:

Chris Hinton, an offensive lineman selected in the first round of the 1983 draft, said Colter and his teammates were part of a lineage at Northwestern that dates to his sophomore year. Hinton was part of a group of black Northwestern football players that felt discriminated against by Coach Rick Venturi. The group threatened to boycott games if conditions did not improve. A new coach was hired the next season.

“It’s part of a legacy,” said Hinton, who recently reached out to [Kain] Colter. “The N.C.A.A. system is messed up, and they’re doing something about it.”

While it is still uncertain what direction the players will vote, it seems as though the number of people giving their input on the situation has created as much controversy as the union itself. Ultimately, it’s up to Northwestern’s current players, and only them, to quite possibly decide the future of college sports.