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Northwestern football players vote on union; results not known yet

Northwestern WildcatsCollege SportsNCAA

Northwestern football players finished voting Friday on whether or not to be represented by a union, but the results won’t be known any time soon.

The balloting at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill., concluded at noon Central time, according to Ramogi Huma, president of the College Athletes Players Assn. that seeks to represent the players.

“The NCAA cannot vacate this moment in history and its implications for the future,” Huma said in a statement.

The vote requires a simple majority of Northwestern's 76 football players with eligibility remaining to accept or reject union representation. It came after a National Labor Relations Board regional director in Chicago ruled last month that the athletes are employees and can unionize.

Northwestern disagreed and requested that the full NLRB board in Washington, D.C., review the ruling. The board agreed to the review Thursday. A NLRB spokesman said no timetable has been established for that process.

“We believe the recent ruling by the NLRB regional director was flawed and overlooked or ignored key evidence that Northwestern presented supporting the decision,” the school said Thursday in a statement.

The review means Friday’s votes will be impounded until the process is finished.

Huma’s group wants to address a variety of issues, including medical care for college athletes and closing the gap between scholarships and the actual cost of attendance, but isn’t interested in pursuing salaries for those athletes.

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nathan.fenno@latimes.com

Twitter: @nathanfenno

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