Northwestern football players cast their votes to determine if they will unionize Friday morning. The vote by about 70 scholarship players will be watched closely by colleges and universities across the country due to the impact it could have on the dynamics of college athletics. However, the outcome of the vote may not be known for some time.
According to ESPN, the ballots will be impounded for now. They will only be opened if the National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C. agrees with the regional office that granted the players union status last month. The decision by the national board could take months.
Northwestern is appealing the decision by the regional board.
"We agree that there currently are important issues regarding college athletics nationally and that students should have a voice in those discussions," Alan Cubbage, vice president of university relations at Northwestern, said in a statement. "However, we believe that a collective bargaining process at Northwestern would not advance the discussion of these topics."
According to the Wall Street Journal, the United Steelworkers, supporters of the College Athletes Players Association, are already calling the vote a victory, regardless of the outcome.
"April 25th will be the first time in history that any college athlete could vote for representation," says Tim Waters National Political director of the United Steelworkers. "The NCAA has lost their unity of message; I think the system is crumbling down around them."
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