College football players, pay and unions - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

College football players, pay and unions, Mentor's varsity coach weighs in

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Football players at Northwestern University win the right to unionize. Football players at Northwestern University win the right to unionize.
MENTOR, OH (WOIO) -

The debate is growing across the country. Should college athletes be paid? A major ruling for football players at Northwestern University could pave the way.

Northwestern football players won the right to form a union. The Chicago District of the National Labor Relations Board ruled that the players qualify as employees of the university.

That ruling could revolutionize college sports. College athletics are now a billion dollar industry with sweet television deals and high-profile coaches paid millions of dollars.

Northwestern's players are seeking things like better medical coverage and the possibility of being paid.

Kain Colter, a former Northwestern Quarterback said, "It's a huge step on our journey to gain basic protections and basic rights."

If you think college players getting paid is a long way off, think again. Steve Trivisonno is the head football coach at Mentor High School and recruiters are already telling some of his players just that.

"They're telling them there's a chance there's going to be a stipend involved. You're going to get x amount of dollars at certain levels. Obviously, the bigger schools are going to get more," says Trivisonno. 

If college players do get paid, then the debate will be how much is each player worth?

"Which player gets what and what position gets what. I'm the quarterback, the Johnny Manziel out there. I deserve a little bit more that 99th guy on the team," Trivisonno said. 

Coach Trivisonno says he's not sure he's in favor of paying college players but he told 19 Action News he has a feeling it is coming. 

Northwestern is appealing the decision to allow players to unionize, but that process could take months. 

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