College football players with show of solidarity
Some football players from Georgia, Georgia Tech and Northwestern had the letters APU - All Players United - written on their gear during Saturday's games as a show of solidarity that organizers hope will lead to changes in the NCAA.
National College Players Association, an advocacy group for college athletes, organized All Players United and launched the campaign Saturday with an announcement on its web site.
Georgia Tech quarterback Vad Lee had APU written on his wrist tape, as did several other Yellow Jackets during their 28-20 home win against North Carolina that was televised on ESPN.
Georgia Tech defensive end Jeremiah Attaochu also had APU written on his wrists and said he heard about the plan from a teammate before the game.
"It was briefly explained to me before the game,'' Attaochu said. "It's a campaign for NCAA reform.''
ESPN reported that Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter also had APU written on his wrist tape, and some Georgia offensive linemen had it written on their gear.
NCPA, founded by former UCLA football player Ramogi Huma, has been pushing for better health care of college athletes, more scholarship money, and to lift NCAA restrictions on legitimate employment and the players' ability to directly benefit from commercial opportunities.
The NCPA says the goals of the All Players United campaign are:
- Demonstrate unity among college athletes and fans from different campuses seeking NCAA reform.
- Show support for the players who joined concussion lawsuits against the NCAA.
- Show support for the players who joined the O'Bannon v. NCAA, EA Sports lawsuit regarding the use of players' images/likeliness.
- Stand behind individual players being harmed by NCAA rules.
- Direct a portion of over $1 billion in new TV revenue to guarantee basic protections, including guaranteed scholarship renewals for permanently injured players.
"As a higher education association, the NCAA supports open and civil debate regarding all aspects of college athletics,'' NCAA Director of Public and Media Relations Stacey Osburn said in a statement Saturday night. "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.''
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