Pat Fitzgerald urges against union

Northwestern must file its request to appeal with the national NLRB office by Wednesday. CAPA then has seven days to file a rebuttal brief. The NLRB then decides whether it will consider the appeal.

If the NLRB considers the appeal, ballots from the April 25 vote will be impounded until a decision is made. If a majority of players vote to unionize and the appeal is denied, CAPA would attempt to start the collective-bargaining process. If Northwestern refuses, the case would go to federal court. If players vote no but the appeal is denied, they could vote again 12 months after the ballots are unsealed.

Vitabile confirmed that players are receiving information from both Northwestern and CAPA. Players will continue to discuss the pros and cons leading up to the vote, which will take place on campus at an undisclosed location.

"It is a little weird, but at the end of the day, we all have to take our own stance," Mark said. "You have to go with what you believe in. I strongly believe that Northwestern has done everything in their power to make me a better person and a better player. I'm taking my stance and everybody on the team knows that. But I'm not here to persuade you one way or another."

Fitzgerald serves on the AFCA's board of trustees and has discussions at both the Big Ten and NCAA levels about improving the experience for players. He said no current or former players asked him for help in improving their experience before filing the union petition.

"This is not a national issue," Fitzgerald said. "That's my understanding with the NLRB. This is that organization against Northwestern, and I have to educate our guys on that. That's what we'll stick to, the facts, and I look forward to unbelievable positive change."

Vitabile wouldn't speculate on whether the team is leaning one way on unionizing.

"The 25th [of April] is what really matters," Mark said.

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