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Northwestern football players announce first union for college athletes

Leo W. Gerard, President of the Steelworkers and

Leo W. Gerard, President of the Steelworkers and Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter answer questions at a press conference at The Hyatt Regency Hotel in Chicago. Citing what they deem as the NCAA's abdication of responsibility to protect athletes from injury, the College Athletes Association (CAPA) announced the creation of the new labor organization to represent college football and basketball players. (Jan. 28, 2014) Credit: Getty Images

CHICAGO -- Football players at Northwestern are forming what they say is a first-of-its-kind union for college athletes.

Wildcats quarterback Kain Colter joined union leaders Tuesday in Chicago to announce the creation of the College Athletes Players Association.

He says the NCAA currently dictates conditions. He says athletes need "a seat at the table" to guarantee safeguards against injuries and ensure adequate financial compensation.

The first step is to apply for certification by the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of Northwestern football players, then expand to other schools. If the board deems college football athletes employees, they'll have legal rights to organize.

NCAA legal officer Donald Remy released a statement saying athletes aren't employees. He also says the bid to unionize "undermines the purpose of college" -- to get an education.

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