New athletes' labor union courts U.S. college football players

Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:24pm EST

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Jan 28 (Reuters) - A new labor union is being formed for U.S. college athletes, and football players at Northwestern University in Chicago will announce on Tuesday they plan to join it, said a statement from the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA).

An "overwhelming majority" of Northwestern's scholarship football players have notified the U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that they are seeking representation with CAPA, said the CAPA statement.

CAPA's founder and president is Ramogi Huma, a former University of California-Los Angeles football player who previously founded the National College Players Association (NCPA) to advocate for college athletes.

The NCPA backed a first-of-its-kind law in California that required colleges in the state who get more than $10 million annually in sports media revenue to pay for athletes' sports-related medical care, among other student protections.

CAPA's priorities will be to secure similar coverage for current and former college athletes' sports-related medical expenses, minimizing the risk of sports-related traumatic brain injury and improving graduation rates, according to the group.

"These athletes generate billions of dollars per year that pay coaches and athletic administrators multimillion-dollar salaries," said Huma, who will appear in Chicago with the players seeking representation, along with leaders of the United Steelworkers union, for a Tuesday afternoon announcement.

The NLRB is a federal U.S. agency that oversees union representation elections and polices unfair labor practices. (Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Gunna Dickson)

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