Organizers are sparking a national college athletic movement against the NCAA. Saturday, players from Georgia Tech, Georgia and Northwestern took the field with part of their gear marked up in protest of the NCAA’s treatment of athletes on issues including compensation and concussions.
In a game against North Carolina, Georgia Tech players were seen wearing their wrists taped with the letters “APU” (All Players United) written on them.
Five Bulldogs offensive linemen wore the same writing on their wrists in Georgia’s game against North Texas.
Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter was the most obvious protester, writing “APU” in large white letters on black wrist tape.
The president Ramogi Huma, of the National College Players Association, an advocacy group that supports NCAA reform, told ESPN that the protest was months in the making.
“Players will continue to wear the APU throughout the season and spread the word,” Huma said. “They’re taking the reform effort to television, which has never been done. They’ve been using their bodies to make money for the people who run NCAA sports. Now, for the first time, they’re using their bodies to push for basic protections at the very least.”
The NCAA released a statement Saturday evening regarding the movement.
“As a higher education association, the NCAA supports open and civil debate regarding all aspects of college athletics,” NCAA spokesperson Stacey Osburn said. “Student-athletes across all 23 sports provide an important voice in discussions as NCAA members offer academic and athletic opportunities to help the more than 450,000 student-athletes achieve their full potential.”