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FILE - In this April 1, 2014, file photo, Northwestern head football coach Pat Fitzgerald speaks at a news conference after his football team participated in an NCAA college spring football practice in Evanston, Ill. Fitzgerald sided with his university against the formation of a players union in his first public comments Saturday, April 1, repeating what he already told his team: "I believe it's in their best interests to vote no." (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)
Sports briefs: Northwestern football coach opposes unionization
First Published Apr 05 2014 05:56 pm • Last Updated Apr 05 2014 10:16 pm

college football • Northwestern football coach Pat Fitzgerald sided with his university against the formation of a players union in his first public comments Saturday, repeating what he already told his team: "I believe it’s in their best interests to vote no."

Fitzgerald addressed the issue for the first time with his squad Wednesday, a week after Peter Ohr, regional director for the National Labor Relations Board, ruled that Northwestern’s scholarship football players were "employees." That decision entitled players to conduct a secret-ballot vote on forming a union to pursue collective bargaining with the school, a move that could significantly alter the structure of college sports — especially big revenue-producers like football and basketball.

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The NLRB set April 25 for the players vote.

The College Athletes Players Association, the group seeking to unionize players, is pushing for improved medical care and practice schedules. So far, CAPA has not addressed paying players on scholarship.

"I just do not believe we need a third party between our players and our coaches, staff and administrators. ... Whatever they need, we will get them," Fitzgerald said.

Petkovic, Cepelova advance to final

tennis • Andrea Petkovic rallied in the final two sets to defeat sixth-seeded Eugenie Bouchard 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 and reach the Family Circle Cup finals on Saturday in Charleston, S.C. Petkovic, seeded 14th, appeared overwhelmed by the 20-year-old Canadian early on, losing seven straight games and trailing 3-2 in the second set. That’s when the German took control, winning four consecutive games to force a decisive set.

In the final, Petkovic will face Slovakia’s Jana Cepelova, who outlasted 17-year-old Swiss qualifier Belinda Bencic 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (7).

Siena defeats Fresno State for CBI title


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college basketball • Tournament MVP Brett Bisping had 20 points and nine rebounds, and Siena cruised past Fresno State 81-68 in the decisive Game 3 of the College Basketball Invitational championship series in Loudonville, N.Y.

Rob Poole added 23 points for Siena (20-18), which won its first postseason title since jumping to Division I in 1976.

Fresno State hit just three of its first 17 shots and went more than nine minutes without a field goal in the first half. Tyler Johnson had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulldogs (21-18)

Siena built a 22-point lead five minutes into the second half.



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