On Wednesday, the day before the start of this year’s NCAA Tournament, players across 15 teams in the field shared the hashtag #NotNCAAProperty on social media to protest against “unjust NCAA rules that deny college athletes equal freedoms and basic protections.” The movement is being led Geo Baker of Rutgers, Michigan’s Isaiah Livers, and Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon.
Baker tweeted the following on Wednesday:
“The NCAA OWNS my name image and likeness. Someone on music scholarship can profit from an album. Someone on academic scholarship can have a tutor service. For ppl who say “an athletic scholarship is enough.” Anything less than equal rights is never enough. I am #NotNCAAProperty”
The National College Players Association shared a list of four demands in which the first lays out that the NCAA implements a rule change to allow all athletes the freedom to secure representation and receive pay for use of name, image, and likeness by July 1, 2021.
— Nicole Auerbach 😷 (@NicoleAuerbach) March 18, 2021
In January of this year, the NCAA delayed a vote on a name, image, and likeness proposal due to “several external factors.” The NCAA initially announced its Board of Governors supported rule changes to allow student-athletes to receive compensation in April of 2020.
As it stands at the moment, six state legislatures have passed NIL laws, and another 13 states introduced them in 2021. Florida will become the seventh state to join the group as its NIL law will go into effect on July 1.
As the movement began on Twitter, Jay Williams shared his thoughts and stated that with the NCAA needing revenue from these players and teams in the tournament more than ever, that the players should delay the start of March Madness until their demands for name, image, and likeness are passed.
The #NCAA needs the revenue more than ever right now considering last year. The players should delay March madness & demand Name, Image and Likeness until it gets passed. Let people come at me…. I will say it for all of the players. https://t.co/1KjmTNzTGs
— Jay Williams (@RealJayWilliams) March 17, 2021
At the moment it’s unclear whether or not anything will come of this hashtag campaign, but at the very least it shows that a large number of players still have NIL laws on their minds. The fact that players are having to isolate in hotels throughout the duration of the NCAA Tournament while the NCAA itself continues to profit hundreds of millions of dollars solely because of them probably isn’t helping the situation.