Northwestern players vote on union question

EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Football players at Northwestern University are casting secret ballots today on whether to form the nation's first union for college athletes. It's a vote that could mean sweeping changes for college sports.

But the results won't be revealed any time soon. Instead, ballot boxes will be sealed for weeks or months -- perhaps even years -- as the university challenges the effort to unionize the football team.

The full National Labor Relations Board has agreed to hear an appeal of a March ruling from a regional director. He found that the players are employees, and can unionize.

There haven't been rallies or demonstrations on the 19,000-student campus. But there has been plenty of lobbying through private meetings, calls and emails.

Reporters today were kept away from the players as they entered a campus building to vote. One player shouted, "You got to give the people what they want!"

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256-c-15-(Tim Maguire, AP correspondent)-"are students first"-AP correspondent Tim Maguire reports that football players at Northwestern will vote on whether to unionize, but the ballots won't be counted for now. (24 Apr 2014)

<<CUT *256 (04/24/14)££ 00:15 "are students first"

APPHOTO ILCA103: Northwestern football player Shane Mertz walks into McGaw Hall, where voting is taking place on whether to form the nation's first union for college athletes, Friday, April 25, 2014, in Evanston, Ill. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) (25 Apr 2014)

<<APPHOTO ILCA103 (04/25/14)££