NCAA Athletes Launch NIL Protest Amid March Madness

    • Athletes on more than 15 teams have protested NCAA rules that prohibit them from being paid.
    • Players held a Zoom call with the National College Players Association to plan the protest and create a list of demands for the NCAA.

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As the Big Dance tips off, athletes on more than 15 teams have protested NCAA rules that prohibit them from being paid by flooding Twitter with the hashtag #NotNCAAProperty.

“The NCAA OWNS my name, image, and likeness,” Rutgers guard Geo Baker tweeted from inside the March Madness bubble. “For [people] who say ‘an athletic scholarship is enough.’ Anything less than equal rights is never enough.”

On March 16, players from more than a “dozen” March Madness teams met over Zoom with an athlete advocacy group called the National College Players Association to plan the protest, the NCPA said in a statement.

They came up with a list of demands. 

Athletes want NIL rights by July 1 and meetings with NCAA President Mark Emmert and state and federal lawmakers. They also asked that the Supreme Court not give the NCAA the ability to “deny…equal freedoms” in the upcoming case, NCAA v. Alston.

“The players and the NCPA are using the hashtag #NotNCAAProperty to underscore their concern that the NCAA too often treats college athletes like dollar signs rather than people,” the statement read.

Lawmakers plan to meet the July 1 deadline, whether the NCAA does or not. On that date, a Florida law allowing college athletes to profit off NIL takes effect. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) has said Congress will also pass federal legislation by then.