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Ex-Northwestern football players speak in support of coach

Feb. 25, 2014 at 5:38 PM

CHICAGO, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Three former Northwestern football players spoke Tuesday in support of a coach they said moved practices so they could attend classes and study.

The National Labor Relations Board hearing concerned the College Athletes Players Association, which is seeking the right to collectively bargain with the university, the Chicago Tribune reported.

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Last week, in support of CAPA, former quarterback Kain Colter told the board that participating in football at NU was a job, saying that it forced him to drop a pre-med course load and switch to a less-demanding major.

On the fifth and final day of hearings, Northwestern called to testify Doug Bartels, a walk-on who earned a scholarship and became a starting offensive lineman; John Henry Pace, a former walk-on long snapper; and Patrick Ward, who started at left tackle and became an Academic All-American.

Bartels said NU Coach Pat Fitzgerald and his staff were "nothing but supportive," the Tribune said. He completed the pre-med course while playing football and has been accepted into Rush University medical school.

Pace and Ward also supported Fitzgerald.

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