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Northwestern begins case at football union hearing

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014 2:30 p.m. CDT

CHICAGO (AP) — Northwestern University has started its presentation before a federal agency that will decide whether to grant a request by the school's football team to unionize.

An associate athletics director for Northwestern, Brian Baptiste, took the stand at the National Labor Relations Board hearing Wednesday afternoon in Chicago.

Northwestern opposes the union attempt, saying football players aren't employees under the law.

Baptiste sought to counter claims by union attorneys that, when it came to its football players, academics was secondary to their performance on the field. He says Northwestern values education "very strongly" when it came to its athletes.

He also says it was the NCAA, not Northwestern, that set many of the regulations for its athletes. He says that includes that player maintain amateur status and not be paid.

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