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College athletes fighting back against exploitation

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The current wave of unrest in the world of sports has taken another turn, as we see HERE:

The leader of the group that just pulled off an unprecedented collective protest by NCAA athletes told Salon such actions will escalate this season.

During nationally televised college football games on Saturday, 28 total players wore the slogan “APU” — short for “All Players United” – on their wrist tape [above] or elsewhere on their bodies. Players from the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech and Northwestern took part.

“I think it’s the first time the players have shown a sign of unity in terms of NCAA reform on TV … during games,” said former linebacker Ramogi Huma, the founder of the National College Players Association. Huma told Salon that reaction to the protest has “all been positive,” spurring more players to join. He said players intend to keep wearing the APU slogan on the field “until NCAA sports reform is achieved in a way that satisfies the players,” and that the action “will get bigger and bigger” before the regular football season concludes.

Huma said the protesting players’ “number one issue is trying to minimize the risk of brain trauma in contact sports.”

“It’s a very big issue,” Huma told Salon, “and the NCAA has done virtually nothing.” Huma cited internal NCAA emails from 2010, filed in court as part of a lawsuit and reported by the Washington Times, in which NCAA director of health and safety David Klossner was asked whether federal concussion recommendations for juvenile sports “would go beyond what is required at the college level.” (Klossner responded, “Well since we don’t currently require anything all steps are higher than ours.”)

Noting the “big dust-up” over Ohio State players who allegedly violated NCAA rules by accepting tattoos for autographs, Huma charged that conversely, “had those very players been put back in the game with concussions, there would have been no consequences.”

Huma told Salon the APU effort was also aimed at pressuring the NCAA to boost graduation rates through creating a trust fund to “incentivize and support” players, and at “making sure that players are never stuck with medical expenses or lose their scholarships when they’re injured.”

Huma noted that current NCAA rules allow universities to cancel scholarships and medical coverage for athletes injured on the field, and prohibit universities from replacing athletic scholarships with non-athletic scholarships when a player is dropped from the team. The NCAA, charged Huma, would rather schools “save a buck and excuse themselves from their stated obligation of educating that player.” With “over a billion dollars in new revenue” coming in, said Huma, “there should be more support for the players,” rather than all the cash “going to the places where it usually goes”: luxury boxes and six-figure salaries. NCPA has also called for college athletes to be allowed to sign endorsement deals, and for stipends they receive to be hiked to better reflect the true cost of attending college.

Asked about the protesting players and their platform, NCAA spokesperson Stacey Osburn emailed a statement saying simply, “As a higher education association, the NCAA supports open and civil debate regarding all aspects of college athletics. Student-athletes across all 23 sports provide an important voice in discussion as NCAA members offer academic and athletic opportunities to help the more than 450,000 student-athletes achieve their full potential.”

The NCAA has long maintained that its rules and regulations, and the “Principle of Amateurism” supporting them, are in the best interests of the “student-athletes” on the field. But many so-called student-athletes disagree.

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4 Comments

  1. If the student athletes feel that they are being exploited then they should quit.

  2. Craig Knauss

    I remember working 58 hours per week during the summers and school holidays, and managing an apartment building when in school, so I could afford to attend. I didn’t get free tuition, free room and board, free tutoring, etc., like a lot of the jocks did.

    BTW, the cost of attending Northwestern is probably about $40,000 per year. A lot of people don’t make that much money.

  3. Texas A & M has raised something like 725 million in the past year. You think that has anything to do with Johnny football? How much you think the NCAA made selling his jerseysin the past year? But people want to complain because he got paid to autograph some crap. It is silly.

    Average kid on a full ride still needs to come up with close to 10000 a year even though he is on a full ride. These kids are without a doubt exploited. The football and basketball teams are cash cows for these universities.

    Craig while working those 58 hours did you ever suffer a brain injury? Was there any risk of never walking again? You have any ideas how many hours these kids are putting into their sports? It is insane. And they can’t just quit. Nfl won’t draft a kid till he plays 2 years of college ball. Nba won’t draft a kid till after their freshman year. If you think some kid is going to walk away from a chance to pull his family out the ghetto then you don’t understand what is going on. The schools know this and take full advantage of it.

  4. Craig Knauss

    Joe,

    “Average kid on a full ride still needs to come up with close to 10000 a year even though he is on a full ride.” Really? For what? Full ride means FULL RIDE. Tuition and fees are covered. Room and board are covered. Books are usually covered. Transportation and entertainment are about all that’s left and even today shouldn’t be $10,000 per year.

    Joe, FYI I spent those 58 hours a week working in a steel foundry. It was well over 100 degrees in there. Molten metal sometimes flew around. The radiant heat from the pouring stream made my gloves smoke. (When I smelled smoke I pulled back before my hands ignited.) The dust got in my lungs and in my skin. (It took about a month to get it out of my pores. And I went through a half dozen tissues every night to get it out of my nose.) And it was noisy. I didn’t get brain injury, but I got plenty of scars from burns. I put up with this because my parents couldn’t afford to send me to college. So I had to do it myself. BTW, it took me many years to reach a six figure salary – with an engineering degree from a top-rated school. Even back then the jocks were getting that as soon as they went pro.

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