Key dates in the effort to create college athletes' union

CHICAGO (AP) Some key dates in the push by Northwestern University football players to create the first-of-its-kind college athletes' union:

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- Jan. 29, 2014: Then-Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter and the United Steelworkers announce plans to create the first union for college athletes at the school north of Chicago. Colter calls the NCAA a ''dictatorship.''

- Feb. 12, 2014: The National Labor Relations Board begins several days of hearings in Chicago on whether to declare Wildcat football players university employees - the first critical step toward unionization.

- March 26, 2014: NRLB Regional Director Peter Ohr issues a landmark ruling that Northwestern football players are university employees under definitions in federal law, opening the door for them to unionize.

- Early April 2014: Pro-union athletes set an April 25 date for scholarship football players at Northwestern to vote on whether to unionize.

- April 4, 2014: A United Steelworkers official, Tim Waters, says players from other universities have been in touch with the Steelworkers and expressed interest in forming unions at their schools.

- April 5, 2014: Northwestern football coach Pat Fitzgerald publicly calls on his players to vote against forming a union.

- April 9, 2014: Northwestern appeals the regional director's ruling that college football players are university employees to the NLRB's office in Washington, D.C.

- April 25, 2014: Northwestern football players cast secret ballots on unionization, but the ballot boxes are sealed until the appeals process on the NLRB decision plays out.

- Aug. 17, 2015: The NLRB in Washington throws out the regional director's 2014 ruling, concluding that having both union and nonunion teams could lead to different standards at different schools and create competitive imbalances throughout college sports. The ballots cast by players are to be destroyed without being counted.

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