Federal agency to consider whether Northwestern football players are employees, can form union

A federal agency is meeting in Chicago to consider whether college football players quatalify as employees and therefore are eligible to form a union.

At the National Labor Relations Board's initial hearing Wednesday, lawyers for Northwestern football players said the decisive question is whether the athletes are considered employees. If so, the lawyers argued, they should be allowed to legally unionize.

Players' attorney John Adam says his clients are employees because they work at football 40 hours a week, are managed by coaches and receive payment in the form of scholarships.

Northwestern attorney Alex Barbour disagreed. He said scholarships are payment for education, not football services.

There will be three days of testimony, starting Tuesday. Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter is the main witness for the players.