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Emmert to Meet With Players Protesting NCAA Tourney

Brock Fritz

A group of protesting basketball players is ready to have an audience with the NCAA.

Michigan’s Isaiah Livers, Rutgers’ Geo Baker and Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon will have to wait, as NCAA president Mark Emmert has reportedly agreed to meet with them after the NCAA tournament. That’s not soon enough for the players, who responded to Emmert with a letter requesting they meet by Friday and saying that their concerns about student-athlete rights should be top priority.

“We are disappointed that you intend to delay this important conversation for at least two weeks,” reads the letter, which was shared by The Athletic’s Chris Vannini. “From our perspective, it’s difficult to imagine any higher priority you may have at this time than addressing concerns that are at the core of state and federal college athletes’ rights legislation, an upcoming US Supreme Court ruling on college athletes’ economic freedoms, and the NCAA’s ongoing discriminatory treatment of female basketball players in its tournament. Can you please explain what you will be doing over the next two weeks that is more important than addressing these matters?”

The players also want to open the meeting up to more people. Rather than meet with Emmert as a trio, they would like other men’s and women’s basketball players to be present, as well as National College Players Association executive director Ramogi Huma.

According to The Associated Press, the players had initially requested to meet with Emmert and one of the NCAA’s top lobbyists on Tuesday morning. Livers, Baker and Bohannon were among the athletes leading the #NotNCAAProperty social media protest prior to the start of the NCAA Tournament.

Related content: Student-Athletes Use Tourney to Promote NIL Rights

“These players are taking a historic stand to protect the rights and freedoms of generations of players to come,” NCPA executive director Ramogi Huma said in a statement. “They are people #NotNCAAProperty.”

In a statement, a meeting with Emmert is one of several concessions the NCPA was asking of the NCAA, including:

  • NCAA rule changes to allow all athletes the freedom to secure representation and receive pay for use of our name, image, and likeness by July 1.
  • Meetings with state and federal lawmakers and President Biden’s administration to pass laws to give college athletes physical, academic, and financial protections.
  • The Supreme Court to rule in support of plaintiffs/college athletes in Alston v. NCAA and to not give the NCAA any power to deny us equal freedoms.

Soon after the #NotNCAAProperty push, disparities between the men’s and women’s tournament began making waves on social media. Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer lamented the differences in COVID-19 testing, while Oregon sophomore Sedona Prince shared a video of the almost-nonexistent workout area provided to the women’s teams participating in the NCAA tournament. The women’s facilities have since been upgraded.

Related content: NCAA Improves Women’s Workout Area Following Outcry

Related content: Stanford Coach Blasts Disparity in Testing Protocols

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