Northwestern to appeal players union ruling

FILE - In this Sept. 21, 2013 file photo, Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter (2), wears APU for "All Players United" on wrist tape as he scores a touchdown during an NCAA college football game against Maine in Evanston, Ill. The decision to allow Northwestern football players to unionize raises an array of questions for college sports. Among them, state schools vs. public schools, powerhouse programs vs. smaller colleges.  (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 21, 2013 file photo, Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter (2), wears APU for "All Players United" on wrist tape as he scores a touchdown during an NCAA college football game against Maine in Evanston, Ill. The decision to allow Northwestern football players to unionize raises an array of questions for college sports. Among them, state schools vs. public schools, powerhouse programs vs. smaller colleges. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Northwestern University has confirmed it will appeal a federal agency’s ruling that its football players can create the United States’ first union of college athletes.

In a statement Friday, Vice President for University Relations Alan Cubbage says Northwestern “believes the decision overlooked or completely ignored much of the critical testimony supporting the University’s position that student-athletes are not employees.”

He also says the decision “applied incorrect legal standards.”

A regional director of the National Labor Relations Board ruled Wednesday players at the Big Ten school qualify as employees under federal law and therefore may unionize.

Union lawyers argued players are part of a commercial enterprise that generates huge profits.

The Evanston, Ill.-based university says it will file a request for review to the full board by April 9.

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