Sports

Northwestern QB Kain Colter 1st witness at hearing on college players' bid to form union

  • Northwestern University outgoing senior quarterback Kain Colter makes his way to the beginning of three days of hearings before the National Labor Relations Board Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Chicago. The NLRB is scheduled to begin witness testimony on whether to approve a bid by Northwestern University football players who are trying to unionize. Colter is among the key witnesses in the case. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

    Northwestern University outgoing senior quarterback Kain Colter makes his way to the beginning of three days of hearings before the National Labor Relations Board Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Chicago. The NLRB is scheduled to begin witness testimony on whether to approve a bid by Northwestern University football players who are trying to unionize. Colter is among the key witnesses in the case. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)  (The Associated Press)

  • College Athletes Players Association  designated president Ramogi Huma, right, and Northwestern University Wildcats' outgoing senior quarterback Kain Colter make their way to the beginning of three days of hearings before the National Labor Relations Board Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Chicago. The NLRB is scheduled to begin witness testimony on whether to approve a bid by Northwestern University football players who are trying to unionize. Colter is among the key witnesses in the case. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

    College Athletes Players Association designated president Ramogi Huma, right, and Northwestern University Wildcats' outgoing senior quarterback Kain Colter make their way to the beginning of three days of hearings before the National Labor Relations Board Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Chicago. The NLRB is scheduled to begin witness testimony on whether to approve a bid by Northwestern University football players who are trying to unionize. Colter is among the key witnesses in the case. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)  (The Associated Press)

  • College Athletes Players Association  designated president Ramogi Huma, left, and Northwestern University outgoing senior quarterback Kain Colter make their way to the beginning of three days of hearings before the National Labor Relations Board Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Chicago. The NLRB is scheduled to begin witness testimony on whether to approve a bid by Northwestern University football players who are trying to unionize. Colter is among the key witnesses in the case. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

    College Athletes Players Association designated president Ramogi Huma, left, and Northwestern University outgoing senior quarterback Kain Colter make their way to the beginning of three days of hearings before the National Labor Relations Board Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Chicago. The NLRB is scheduled to begin witness testimony on whether to approve a bid by Northwestern University football players who are trying to unionize. Colter is among the key witnesses in the case. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)  (The Associated Press)

Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter is the first witness at a closely watched hearing to determine whether college athletes can form a union.

Colter testified Tuesday at a National Labor Relations Board hearing in Chicago that is expected to last three days.

Colter has said most of the team's 85 scholarship players support forming a union, though he has been the only one to step forward publicly. He is a senior who has finished his college career.

The pivotal question is whether college athletes qualify as employees and thus have a right to unionize.

A union would dramatically change the landscape of college sports, and the NCAA maintains that students are not employees. The bid is being supported by the United Steelworkers union.