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Published March 27, 2014, 09:49 PM

NDSU students, athletes react to football players unionizing

Student-athletes call it a game changer in college athletics, one that could make its way from Chicago to NDSU. Northwestern University's football players have won a bid to unionize now qualifying as "employees" of the university.

By: Kay Cooley, WDAY

Student-athletes call it a game changer in college athletics, one that could make its way from Chicago to NDSU.

Northwestern University's football players have won a bid to unionize now qualifying as "employees" of the university.

Ask any NDSU college athlete.

"It's basically their life"

They'll all agree on one thing.

"Your sport is your job. You're 24/7 365, that's your main focus.”

Playing a sport at any school, is hard work.

"I always thought they deserve some sort of compensation."

Now football players at Northwestern University outside of Chicago have made the idea of paying a college athlete possible.

After the Chicago division of the National Labor Relations Board gave them the green light for a union vote.

"I think it's a great idea."

Meaning the student athletes qualify as Northwestern employees and can unionize if they decide to.

Colton Schneider/NDSU Junior: "I didn't actually think it was going to work, I thought they would shut it down."

But skeptics like club rugby player Mackenzie Lockwood-Meier say this decision could possible shut out money for smaller sports.

Mackenzie Lockwood-Meier/NDSU Junior: "You kind of think well wait a minute, what about all the other teams?"

Saying thousands in scholarships and stipends should be enough with others arguing top athletes bring in millions for top programs.

Junior Smith/NDSU Wrestler: "A lot of the kids are really intelligent so I feel like what they did was; it was going to open a lot of other doors to other programs."

Student athletes say this decision has the potential to change college athletics as a whole, maybe even right here at NDSU."

Lockwood-Meier: "I could see it happening, and I think I would be devastated if it happened. Because it would make all those football players or all those basketball players think that they're so much better.

Junior "I feel like it's a big breakthrough, especially for football players and just student athletes themselves."

Right now the federal labor agency does not have jurisdiction over public universities like NDSU; but this decision is sure sparking conversations on public campuses.

Schneider: "If it spreads, goes outside of Northwestern, I think if they are actually successful with it, it will spread to other Universities and we could see a big change coming."

Northwestern University, the NCAA and college conferences across the country have already spoken out against the decision to allow student athletes to unionize.

NDSU's football department would not comment on the topic.

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