Mar 30, 2013; Washington, D.C., USA; General view of the NCAA logo prior to the finals of the East regional of the 2013 NCAA Tournament between the Syracuse Orange and Marquette Golden Eagles at the Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

All Players United against the NCAA? How Ironic.

Before this story yesterday I had never heard the terms “APU” or “All Players United.”  I didn’t notice it on any of the players whose games I watched yesterday or interviews I saw.  So for those caught unawares, APU is a reform movement of sorts lobbying for better treatment from the NCAA.  It was contrived by the some players but backed the National College Players Association (NCPA) so read that how you want.  They have four (4) goals and they are below.

According to, there are four primary goals of the #AllPlayersUnited campaign.

• Demonstrate unity among college athletes and fans in favor of NCAA reform.

• Show support for players who joined concussion lawsuits against the NCAA, which could “force the NCAA to finally take meaningful steps to minimize brain trauma in contact sports and provide resources for current and former players suffering with brain injuries.”

• Show support for the players who “stepped up in the O’Bannon v. NCAA, EA Sports lawsuit regarding the use of players’ images/likeliness, which could unlock billions of dollars in resources for current, future, and former players.”

• Stand behind individual players being “harmed by NCAA rules.”

You will find no argument from me re:  NCAA is broke. But last I checked the NCAA isn’t a pimp or a slave ship, technically speaking.  What I mean by that is every athlete knows, ahead of time, that the NCAA subjectively enforces antiquated rules that only benefit the NCAA, but no one who accepts a scholarship to play any of the 23 sports is forced to do so against their will.  Yes I suppose you can technically say that “the NCAA makes money off their bodies” and the athletes are “bound by those silly rules,” and while that’s true, the NCAA doesn’t  force anyone to stay. 

So I get tired of the argument that the NCAA is making billions off their players while the players are “forced” to live out their dream and get a free education doing it.

Perhaps we should look at it from the perspective that the school and NCAA should provide mandatory money management courses that all scholarship athletes must complete.  I can tell you from personal experience when I was an undergrad and lived in the “football” dorm on campus, many of the kids don’t know how to manage what they have.

Do I think amateur athletes should get paid?  Yes, but they already do.  It’s called a scholarship.

Do you get it now?

Of the four (4) goals listed by the APU campaign, the concussion point is the most relevant because it’s a safety issue.  Yes I know it sounds duplicitous of me to say that the athletes know full well the NCAA is dysfunctional going in but don’t know the health risks associated with concussions, but that’s not the case.  This is a health issue that will impact some for the rest of their life and they can’t see that.  But to be fair most of the general public didn’t know the long standing health ramification of concussions until we started seeing NFL players killing themselves and CT Scans revealed brain trauma.

So, ironically what the players are effectively saying is “Hey, you’re making a ton of money off my body so I want some of it.”

Do you see the irony?

The APU movement isn’t designed to dismantle and reassemble the NCAA based on some moral high ground.  No, the players just want more compensation. 

Know what that’s called?  A job.  Know what NCAA athletes aren’t?  Professionals.

In other words, NCAA athletes don’t want to be “amateurs” any longer.

Listen, I support this idea of reforming the NCAA but as for theose four (4) goals, most of them are just icing to cover the truth because college athletes and fans are already united, amateur athletes already get paid and the “harm” they speak of is all while they get the benefit of a free education, room and board, books, food, etc., is vague.

What the players don’t seem to understand, and the NCPA should explain this to them, is that the NCAA is in such disrepair, reform will not solve the problem.  It must be torn completely down and replaced all together.

Will that happen?  Doubt it.

What I do know is for all the angst from the athletes against the NCAA, I know a ton of people who would love the opportunity to do what they love and get an education for free.

Perhaps the student-athlete should focus and be more appreciative of what they have rather than quibble over what they don’t.


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