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Updated: A New Type of Student Union?

Ramogi Huma, President of the College Athletes Players Association

Ramogi Huma, President of the College Athletes Players Association, is our guest on Focus. He has also spoke out in the Cvijanovic Case. AP Photo/Paul Beaty

Officially, college athletes are unpaid amateurs, on campus to get an education, even if a sports scholarship brought them there. But, at the time this show taped in February of 2014, Northwestern University football players, saying they were actually university employees, had petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to form a union -- not for money, they said, but for better medical and health insurance coverage. The team continues to wait on a final ruling from the NLRB.

Now, former University of Illinois offensive lineman Simon Cvijanovic is alleging mistreatment by the football coach and medical staff, not just to him but other players as well and says they misled him about the extent of his injuries. Cvijanovic has called for a players union at the U of I. In this 2014 episode of Focus we covered many of the issues relevant to Cvijanovic’s case and his call for a union.

The University of Illinois has hired a Chicago law firm to investigate Cvijanovic's allegations. That announcement comes after the National College Players Association called on the university to conduct an external investigation and make those results public. Ramogi Huma heads the players association and was a guest on this program as well. Jim Meadows talks with Huma and Northwestern University Labor Law Professor Zev Eigen.

This episode of Focus was produced by Lindsey Moon and hosted by Jim Meadows. Amanda Honigfort adapted it for re-broadcast.