EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald told CBSSports.com Tuesday he was “disappointed” that quarterback Kain Colter's participation in the All Players United movement was not vetted through team channels.
Colter was the highest profile name attached to the awareness campaign that emerged out of the quarterback's participation in the National College Players Association. Twenty-eight players, from Georgia, Georgia Tech and Northwestern, displayed the initials “APU” somewhere on their equipment on Saturday.
The plan to raise awareness to players' rights had been planned for months according to NCPA president Ramogi Huma.
Colter wrote “APU” on each wristband that was displayed during the Wildcats' game with Maine. The APU movement endorses a player stipend. It also is calling for an independent concussion expert on the sidelines and for part of college football playoff revenues to be used for head trauma research.
“We have a platform here in the program that we've had for six years – a leadership council for dialogue on things,” Fitzgerald said. “We meet every Monday. The last question I ask the guys, ‘Is there anything to know that I don't know?” and that didn't come up.
“I told him I was disappointed in him, not that he believes in the cause and not that he was taking a role in that but … what we try to do collectively is team focused.”
“I told him, ‘I don't think you were trying to draw attention to yourself. I don't think you were trying to step out of bounds of the team, but if you're going to do things like that in the future it needs to be done and vetted through the systems we have in place.' It was a teachable and coachable moment.”
Colter is part of one of the most unique two-quarter systems in the country. The Northwestern offense works best with Colter and junior Trevor Siemian sharing time depending on the circumstance. Colter is a better runner, Siemian is more of a pocket passer. The Wildcats are off to a 4-0 start for the third time in four years.
Fitzgerald suggested that Colter take a more traditional path, perhaps through the NCAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Asked if his quarterback would continue to display the initials, Fitzgerald said, “Those will be things he and I will discuss.”
Colter was not available for interviews after Saturday's game. He was not made available after an interview request on Tuesday. The Wildcats next play Oct. 5 against Ohio State.