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Former Northwestern tackle Patrick Ward: ‘Union should be dismissed’

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Updated: March 27, 2014 6:47AM



Like Kain Colter, 2013 graduate and former Northwestern offensive lineman Patrick Ward was a three-year starter for the Wildcats. Like the former quarterback, who was the College Athletes Players Association’s star witness in its hearing with the National Labor Relations Board, Ward had his redshirt burned in his true freshman year.

But unlike Colter, Ward said in testimony Tuesday that those circumstances didn’t inhibit his academic potential. He brought with him his cumulative 3.94 grade-point average and an engineering job with Boeing to prove it.

Ward was the most effective of the nine witnesses the university called to testify in a five-day hearing that adjourned Tuesday. He was the only witness on either side to grant an interview after his testimony.

“It’s an uncomfortable situation with how everything has ended up,” Ward told the Sun-Times. “I think everything that has been heard in the hearing so far is going to drive what moves forward here. I think that what we heard in here is indicative that the union should be dismissed.”

Immediately after graduating, Ward spent time with the Miami Dolphins at rookie minicamp before accepting his job at Boeing in St. Louis.

He said he was asked to testify as to his experiences as a student-athlete. Ward said he was unfamiliar with the testimony of Colter, his teammate for three seasons, so he couldn’t specifically refute Colter’s testimony in his post-hearing interview.

However, Northwestern’s legal team asked him direct questions with the intent of discrediting Colter’s testimony. Most notably, Ward testified that he was permitted to study on road trips while Colter asserted a “game-plan test” given by the coaches on each opponent took up the majority of his time while traveling.

But just because Ward’s testimony favored the university doesn’t mean he isn’t a proponent of reform collegiate athletics. While he said he was unfamiliar with the particulars of CAPA, he said it’s important for student-athletes to have a voice in the legislation of collegiate athletics.

“I have to look more into what they stand for as a whole,” Ward said. “I would like to see student-athletes having more representation with the NCAA. I don’t think it’s necessary with Northwestern, and I don’t think it’s as necessary with other institutions either.”

Email: sgruen@suntimes.com

Twitter: @SethGruen



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