As Northwestern players mull whether to become a union, quarterback Trevor Siemian, whom coach Pat Fitzgerald called the team’s leader, said he will vote against unionization when the team is polled on April 25.
“We filed for employee cards (Jan. 28), but that doesn’t mean a union is the right avenue,” said Siemian, who will be the starter this fall. “Especially at Northwestern, where most guys on the team agree we have been treated very, very well. I’m treated here far better than I deserve.”
Former quarterback Kain Colter and Ramogi Huma, founder of College Athletes Players Association (CAPA), came to Northwestern players in January and presented a better situation that included better medical care — even after players leave school, cost-of-attendance scholarships and lenient transfer rules. Last month, the National Labor Relations Board agreed that Northwestern players were employees and had the power to unionize.
It all sounded worthwhile, so the majority of Northwestern players signed employee cards hoping to make a difference in collegiate athletics. But Siemian said he should have done more research and now that he has, he realizes that unionization is not the best way for Northwestern players to handle their grievances.
“This all began with the best of intentions,” said Siemian, who remarked that any concerns should have been taken to Fitzgerald or athletic director Jim Phillips.
“To say, 'I don’t trust you enough to address this,' I don’t think that is the way to go.”
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