Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald testifies against unionization

NW coach testifies against unionization, players don`t hold grudge

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CHICAGO (Associated Press) -

A leader of the Northwestern football team's bid to form a union says the players don't hold a grudge against the head coach for testifying against their effort.

Pat Fitzgerald testified in Chicago on Friday at a National Labor Relations Board hearing. The agency must decide whether to OK the request to unionize.

Testifying for Northwestern, Fitzgerald found himself in the awkward position of speaking against his players' drive. He also disputed earlier testimony by his pro-union quarterback, senior Kain Colter.

Colter testified this week that a union will protect students and said nearly all of 85 scholarship football players on Fitzgerald's team support the union drive. He said the school didn't' make academics a top priority for football players.

Fitzgerald disagreed, saying Northwestern makes academics central to a player's experience. And while Colter testified he never heard a coach tell a player to leave practice and study, Fitzgerald says that does happen.

Former UCLA linebacker Ramogi Huma is the president of the proposed union, the College Athletes Players Association. He spoke outside the hearing.

He says players knew the university would oppose unionization and that their coach is part of the university. He says no players hold Fitzgerald's testimony against him.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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