CHICAGO - Football players at Northwestern are spearheading the formation of a first-of-its-kind union for college athletes.

Outgoing Wildcats quarterback Kain Colter joined union leaders Tuesday in Chicago to announce the creation of the College Athletes Players Association.

He says the NCAA currently dictates conditions. He says athletes need "a seat at the table" to guarantee safeguards against injuries and to ensure adequate financial compensation.

The first step is to apply for certification by the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of Northwestern football players.

United Steelworkers official Tim Waters spoke alongside Colter. He says the key issue is whether college football players are employees. He says if they're deemed employees, they have the right to organize.

Rutgers

A person familiar with the negotiations tells the Associated Press that Rutgers is close to hiring former Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen as its offensive coordinator.

Friedgen, who coached the winning team in the inaugural Medal of Honor Bowl at Johnson Hagood Stadium, was the head coach of the Terrapins from 2001-10 and went 75-50, including 9-4 in his last season. He was 5-2 in bowl games and won AP national coach of the year honors in 2001, which included an appearance in the 2002 Orange Bowl.

. A law firm's investigation determined that a former assistant coach at Rutgers did not bully a former player and there was no retaliation against the player.

The report issued Tuesday also found the university responded appropriately.Cornerback Jevon Tyree said defensive coordinator Dave Cohen verbally abused him and threatened to head-butt him last spring. Tyree quit the team Nov. 6. He remains on scholarship for this school year.

The investigation found Cohen did use inappropriate language toward Tyree, but also concluded head coach Kyle Flood took appropriate action within hours of being informed. It noted Flood immediately admonished Cohen and addressed the matter with the entire coaching staff.