Newly released documents show that Northwestern Wildcats head coach Pat Fitzgerald has told players he plans to remain with the team next season, whether or not the players vote to unionize, according to Jeremy Fowler of CBSSports.com.
The revelation was part of an FAQ about unionizing that the school and Fitzgerald prepared and sent to scholarship students and their parents, which asked that players trust that the school would act in their best interest, and that unionizing was not the best route to reform the NCAA system.
"When asked about non-union mechanisms for change, Northwestern cites the looming NCAA changes giving power to the five major football conferences and the school's long-standing advocacy for student rights -- leadership in maximum allowable benefits to student-athletes, the team's “Leadership Council,” the school's participation in the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Fitzgerald' position on the AFCA board and athletic director Jim Phillips' election as president of National Association of Collegiate Athletic Directors.
Voting no would help players “pursue this alternative path to continue the national discussion,” says Northwestern, adding that electing a union will not give players immediate access to NCAA reform.
“I ask that you let history be your guide, and give Northwestern and me an opportunity to prove that we deserve your trust and confidence as you consider your vote."
The packet also emphasized that if the majority of the team votes yes, then even those players who oppose the union will be forced to join for at least one year until a new vote can occur. Fitzgerald has gone on record as being against his players forming a union.