NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith is scheduled to attend the first day of court-ordered mediation between the NFL and the locked-out players.

Smith was supposed to speak Thursday as part of Wake Forest University's conference on college sports and race. Organizers for that event said Wednesday that Smith withdrew so he could instead go to Minneapolis for mediation, which also begins Thursday.

Smith was formally added last week as an attorney for the players. The NFLPA officially is a trade association and not a union.

The two sides are scheduled to be in the same room with a federal judge on Thursday, the first time since the collective bargaining agreement expired and the union decertified.