Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, August 17, 2015

The National Labor Relations Board ruled today that Northwestern can?t form a union.

[ MORE: Northwestern, Pat Fitzgerald react to NLRB ruling ]

The decision by the NLRB reverses a regional director's decision that Northwestern's players had the right to unionize. It is a blow to the College Athletes Players Association, which was behind the players? push.

?I am proud of our guys for working through the process,? Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald told me after practice. ?Something like this can drive a wedge into a team or draw it closer. I think it brought us closer. We now can move forward.?

"BTN Live" will provide more analysis on the NLRB ruling, including an exclusive interview with Fitzgerald, at 6 p.m. ET on BTN/BTN2Go.

The reason the NLRB turned down NU?s petition was because it didn?t believe it was under National Labor Relations Act. Competition issues also were mentioned by the NLRB in its ruling.

"Our decision is primarily premised on a finding that, because of the nature of sports leagues (namely the control exercised by the leagues over the individual teams) and the composition and structure of FBS football (in which the overwhelming majority of competitors are public colleges and universities over which the Board cannot assert jurisdiction), it would not promote stability in labor relations to assert jurisdiction in this case," the NLRB said in a statement.

Here's what former Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter, the man behind the push, said on Twitter:


About Tom Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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