Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald urges no vote on forming union

EVANSTON, Ill. — Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald sided with his university against the formation of a players union in his first public comments Saturday, repeating what he already told his team: “I believe it’s in their best interests to vote no.”


Fitzgerald addressed the issue for the first time with his squad Wednesday, a week after Peter Ohr, regional director for the National Labor Relations Board, ruled that Northwestern’s scholarship football players were “employees.” That decision entitled players to conduct a secret-ballot vote on forming a union to pursue collective bargaining with the school.

Fitzgerald said that while he’s constrained in what he can discuss regarding a union, he sent players and their parents a letter stating his position before addressing the team in person.

So far, the College Athletes Players Association has not addressed paying players on scholarship.

“I just do not believe we need a third party between our players and our coaches, staff and administrators. ... Whatever they need, we will get them,” Fitzgerald said.

The NLRB set April 25 for the players vote.


GEORGIA: Todd Gurley rushed for a team-best 67 yards on 10 carries during the Bulldogs’ second spring scrimmage in Sanford Stadium.

Quarterback Hutson Mason completed 12 of 16 passes for 136 yards and a 17-yard touchdown pass to Quayvon Hicks. Jonathon Rumph led all receivers with six catches for 62 yards and a touchdown.

Former Aquinas star Brendan Douglas had 40 yards on 13 carries.

• Ex-Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, who tore his ACL less than five months ago, will throw at the Bulldogs’ pro day on April 16, his agent told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Murray had been targeting the pro day throughout his rehab.


SOUTH CAROLINA: Starting tight end Rory Anderson will miss the rest of spring workouts after injuring his triceps at a scrimmage Saturday.

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said he was hopeful that Anderson wouldn’t miss much workout time during the off-season, although he wasn’t sure of the extent of the injury.

Anderson will be evaluated to see if he has a complete or partial muscle tear.


BRONCOS: Coach John Fox has agreed to a new three-year contract.

The team ripped up Fox's 2014 contract and replaced it with a deal that runs through 2016.