Athletes took to social media on Wednesday with a coordinated effort slamming the NCAA and advocating for reform, just one day before the NCAA men's tournament officially kicks off in Indianapolis.
Several Big Ten players — including Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon and Rutgers’ Geo Baker — led the charge with the hashtag #NotNCAAProperty. The push is designed to urge the NCAA to allow college athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness, something that is currently being debated and voted on both within the NCAA and in state legislatures across the country.
The tournament starts on Thursday in Indianapolis, where the entire event was moved to due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NCAA was set to vote on new NIL legislation in January, though that vote was delayed after the Department of Justice and NCAA president Mark Emmert spoke. The assistant attorney general of the antitrust division told Emmert that he was concerned the new NIL legislation could violate antitrust laws. College athletes are currently not allowed to profit off their name, image or likeness in any sport.
Several states, including California and Florida, have already passed legislation that will allow athletes to pursue sponsorship deals and endorsements separate from their universities. Emmert told the NCAA this week that he hopes new national rules will be in place before football starts this fall.
The players came together to make four specific demands on Wednesday night, including an official standard NIL rule by July 1 and meetings with Emmert, state and federal law makers and President Joe Biden's administration.
Hashtag spreads throughout NCAA tournament field
It didn’t take long for the hashtag to spread throughout the NCAA tournament field.
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