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First day of hearings done on football union

Published: Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014 11:00 a.m. CST

CHICAGO (AP) — A federal agency is preparing for testimony from witnesses as it considers whether to approve a bid by Northwestern University football players to unionize.

Wednesday kicked off the first in a series of National Labor Relations Board hearings. The initial hearing was a chance for lawyers on opposing sides to identify main points of contention.

Players' attorneys and school lawyers both agreed that the overriding dispute has to do with whether college athletes can be considered employees. Players' attorneys say they can. Northwestern's lawyers say they can't.

Hearings resume Tuesday and will run for three days. That's when both sides will get deep into the issues.

The star witness for the players' side will be Wildcats quarterback Kain Colter. He's the public face of the unprecedented union drive.

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