Neb's Bell says Colter asks for help in union push
Bell and Colter, the former Northwestern quarterback, are longtime friends from Colorado. Bell, who will be a senior receiver this fall, said he and Colter have been discussing possible unionization for about a year.
"They've got a lot of smart guys heading up that thing," Bell said Wednesday. "I'm always supportive of Kain in everything he does. I'll probably get a little more involved going forward."
Colter spearheaded an effort at Northwestern that ended up with a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board ruling that football players at that school meet the definition of employees and can unionize. The Northwestern players are set to vote April 25 on whether to proceed. The school is appealing the ruling.
Bell said he isn't sure a union is the answer to athletes' concerns, but he supports the push for measures that would improve the welfare of athletes who generate millions of dollars for their schools.
"A lot of guys don't really know -- not just in our locker room, but across the country -- what a union necessarily entails," Bell said. "I'll tell you one thing: you can't afford to pay dues because we don't have enough money to eat sometimes. I think a lot of research needs to be done on behalf of the players before they just jump into it."
Colter did not return a phone message seeking comment.
The NLRB ruling regarding Northwestern would not apply to Nebraska. That's because collective bargaining at public universities is governed by state law.
Bell said he and Colter were discussing what role he would play, if any, in organizing athletes at Nebraska.
Proponents of unionization say athletes should receive a stipend that helps cover their everyday expenses and health benefits that extend beyond the college years. Bell said he didn't necessarily agree on the extended health benefits.
He said he wants athletes to have a greater voice in the process of making rules that affect athletes.
Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said he doesn't think unionization is appropriate, but he understands the athletes' concerns.
"Is there enough allowed within the rules to help kids?" Pelini said. "Sometimes I question that."
Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press
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