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Statement by Jim Phillips, Vice President for Athletics and Recreation

Following the vote Friday by Northwestern University football players on a union

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April 25, 2014

EVANSTON, Ill. --- The following is a statement by Jim Phillips, vice president for athletics and recreation at Northwestern University, following the vote Friday by eligible scholarship football players on a union:

“We deeply appreciate each and every one of the young men who came out today and allowed their voices to be heard. They represent what we are all about at Northwestern: intelligent, thoughtful, involved students and leaders who make up their own minds on important matters.

“We have been at the center of a national discussion about student-athlete welfare that has allowed us to show how much we care about our young men and women and their education. During the most recent academic quarter, all 19 of our varsity programs achieved a GPA above 3.0 and a cumulative GPA of 3.22. Our football student-athletes lead the country with their 97 percent graduation rate. 

“Moving forward, our football team is concentrating on finishing the academic year with a strong performance in the spring quarter as well as preparing for next season, just as they do every year at this time. 

“This discussion has put us in the national spotlight. Northwestern strongly believes in the issues that have been raised, and the University has been a leader in several of these areas, including awarding four-year scholarships and providing extended medical benefits.

“Our efforts as a University will continue to focus on providing a world-class experience for our 492 student-athletes, as well as working collaboratively to address the broader issues throughout intercollegiate athletics. 

“We’re looking forward to leading new conversations that involve not just one football team but the hundreds of thousands of student-athletes across the country who participate in collegiate athletics.”