After getting their meeting with NCAA president Mark Emmert, the college basketball players leading the #NotNCAAProperty movement were left wishing Emmert spoke with more urgency.
Players began using #NotNCAAProperty at the start of the NCAA tournament last month to protest student-athletes’ rights and ask the NCAA to update their name, image and likeness regulations. The athletes used things like the food, workout areas and gift bags they were provided during the postseason to call out the disparity between the money the NCAA and schools make, and the limitations preventing athletes from benefiting from their name, image and likeness. They also used the tournaments to highlight the inequalities between what the men’s teams and women’s teams received.
Two men’s basketball players — Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon and Rutgers’ Geo Baker — and two women’s basketball players — Iowa’s Caitlin Clark and Michigan’s Akienreh Johnson — got an opportunity to discuss the issues with Emmert on Tuesday. While Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and New Mexico have already passed laws allowing athletes to benefit from their NIL, the Des Moines Register reported that the athletes requested an endorsement from Emmert for the NCAA to issue a blanket waiver for NIL for the 2021-22 academic year.
Bohannon told the Des Moines Register that Emmert and Congress aren’t moving fast enough.
“He kept reiterating that he wanted Congress to make a decision. I was very direct with him, saying that I think we both know Congress won’t act with it and the longer we wait, the more complex issue this becomes,” Bohannon said, noting he asked Emmert what will happen after the above states’ laws go into effect July 1. “He said he wouldn’t punish them. I countered and asked what about the states that don’t have name, image and likeness? He really didn’t give much detail with that response. He said that he hoped something happened with Congress or the NCAA before that happens.”
Bohannon has made it clear that he is seeking immediate action because it will dictate what he does next year. He said he’ll use his extra year of eligibility if athletes are able to benefit from their NIL, but he’ll move on if the current system remains in place.
Bohannon did say that Emmert affirmed his commitment to treating men’s and women’s athletes equally. Emmert and the players are scheduled to meet again in the next three weeks, although the athletes were denied their request to meet with the NCAA’s Board of Governors.
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