In a first for college sports, a group of athletes at a university are asking to form a union, according to a report from ESPN.
Ramogi Huma, president of the National College Players Association (NCPA) filed a petition in Chicago on Tuesday on behalf of football players at Northwestern University, submitting the form at the regional office of the National Labor Relations Board.
Huma said the athletes want an "equal voice when it comes to their physical, academic and financial protections." The immediate goals do not include calling for salaries for players, he added, though he wouldn't rule out the possibility.
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Establishing a college players' union is likely to be an uphill fight, according to experts.
"You have to deal with a lot of issues over labor laws and who is or who is not an employee," said Mark Conrad, a professor of sports law at Fordham University. "I don't think it will work at the college level, as universities can claim they give athletes scholarships," so the players are not employees, he added.