CHICAGO – No matter how this season unfolds, Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald insisted there is no more unified team than his Wildcats.
For that, he credits the players’ push to unionize.
Fitzgerald said he’s “proud of the maturity” his players displayed as the story unfolded.
“As I look back and reflect upon the experiences that our young men went through and our entire football program went through, that’s what jumps out to me is their maturity,” Fitzgerald said. “As we visited throughout the whole offseason, I believe there’s no more unified football program in the country. We’ve been through more since probably January than most, and it’s been nothing but a positive and nothing more than unifying in our locker room and throughout our entire football program. So I think we’re a leg up from that standpoint.
“And as I look at where we go in the future, hopefully that will just be something that we can draw upon.”
A regional director of the National Labor Relations Board ruled in March that Northwestern’s full scholarship players can bargain with the school as employees. Players voted in April on whether to form the first union for college athletes, but the result is not known because the NLRB impounded the ballots pending an appeal by the university and a possible court fight.