The Chicago Tribune is reporting this morning that the hearing has started on whether football players at Northwestern University can be members of a union and be recognized under the National Labor Relations Act. The Tribune story can be accessed online here.

The issue of course is whether the players can be categorized as employees under the NLRA. The University and the NCAA are arguing that the players are students and not employees and therefore they do not come within the reach of the Act. The players and the newly formed College Players Athletes Association contend that the players are compensated through their scholarships and the other perks associated with Division I football and are therefore employees.