Players take part in protest for NCAA reforms
Players write 'APU' on jerseys
About two dozen college football players at three universities staged an underground protest of the NCAA during their games Saturday by writing the letters "APU" on their gear, according to the National College Players Association (NCPA), which organized the effort.
APU stands for "All Players United," a campaign created by some current players who are calling for NCAA reforms, said the organization's president, Ramogi Huma.
Huma told CNN that the players who participated wanted to visualize their opinions in the same way that brands are able to advertise on their gear while they play on national TV.
"The priorities are misplaced and part of this movement is to address that," Huma said.
The campaign includes a call for the NCAA to take more steps to minimize brain trauma, and for money to be designated to increase scholarships and graduation rates and guarantee medical treatment.
It also includes a pledge to support those involved in Ed O'Bannon's lawsuit against the NCAA. O'Bannon, a former UCLA basketball star, is suing for the rights to his own likeness in video games and TV broadcasts.
The NCPA is a nonprofit organization, founded in 2001 by football players at UCLA, that claims more than 17,000 members, according to its website. It bills itself as "the only independent voice for college athletes across the nation."
Players at the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech and Northwestern University used sharpies to write "APU" on their towels, wristbands and athletic tape.
Georgia Tech head football coach Paul Johnson wasn't thrilled about the campaign when asked at a press conference after the Yellow Jackets played North Carolina on Saturday. About a half-dozen of his players participated.
He said he'd be talking to the players who participated, and one player later told CNN that Johnson was very angry that he didn't know before the game.
Georgia Tech Quarterback Vad Lee said he participated to support injured teammate Isaiah Johnson, who asked several players to take part in the campaign.
Team handlers discouraged CNN reporters from talking to the players after the game about the campaign and said the players "didn't know what they were doing."
The effort was organized in a similar way at Georgia and Northwestern.
"Any way we can gain leverage, we try," Huma said. "We feel like we're on the right side of the argument and we're going to succeed."
For its part, the NCAA issued a statement that said it "supports open and civil debate regarding all aspects of college athletics."
"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," the statement added.
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