The question of whether the Northwestern football team can have a union won’t matter unless the players want a union. The latter question will be resolved soon.
The vote will be conducted on April 25. For the yes-or-no proposition, a simple majority wins.
As recently explained by Alejandra Cancino of the Chicago Tribune, the vote possibly will be delayed pending full resolution of the question of whether the student-athletes are also employees. The more likely outcome will be a sealing of the ballots until the legal issue has made its way through the court system.
So it’s possible that, after months of appeals resulting in a decision that the players can have a union, the votes will be counted and it will be determined that the players choose not to unionize.
Still, a ruling permitting unionization will allow other student-athletes at other private colleges to attempt to organize. And the mere threat of union drives should prompt the NCAA to make changes that would make players less likely to choose against a union.
Those changes could eventually impact the NFL’s free farm system in ways that could make the farm system something other than free. Or which could prompt the NFL to launch its own developmental league.