NCAA President to meet with protesting basketball players

Michigan's Isaiah Livers wears a T-shirt that reads "#NotNCAAProperty" as he walks off the court with teammates after the first half of a first-round game against Texas Southern in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament, Saturday, March 20, 2021, at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin) (Robert Franklin, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

NCAA President Mark Emmert is planning to meet this week with a group of basketball players who used a social media campaign at the start of March Madness to protest rules banning college athletes from earning money from their names, images and likenesses.

Ramogi Huma, executive director of the National College Players Association, said Tuesday that Emmert is scheduled to hold a video conference call with Michigan’s Isaiah Livers, Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon and Rutgers’ Geo Baker on Thursday ay 9 a.m. EDT.

The three players used the Twitter hashtag #NotNCAAProperty to raise awareness of what they believe are inequities in college sports two days before the men’s basketball tournament started in Indianapolis.

Livers, who has not been able to play in the tournament because of an injury, has worn a T-shirt during Michigan games with #NotNCAAProperty written across the front.

The NCAA is in the process of trying to change its rules to permit athletes to be compensated by third parties for things such as sponsorship deals and personal appearances, but a ttempts to reform have bogged down.

The players had originally asked to meet with Emmert last week. He responded that he would be willing to speak with the players after the basketball tournaments. The players urged him to meet with them sooner and Huma said the NCAA reached out this week to set up Thursday's meeting.

The men's tournament is being held in Indianapolis, with the final two spots in the Final Four being determined Tuesday night. Livers' Michigan team is facing UCLA and USC plays Gonzaga.

The women's tournament is being held in San Antonio and will also complete its Final Four on Tuesday night, with Texas facing South Carolina and Louisville playing Stanford.

Issues of inequity between the two tournaments have made headlines over the past two weeks, starting with complaints from players and coaches from the women's side about not being provided a full weight training area the way the men's teams had.

Livers, Bohannon and Baker have requested other players be allowed to participate in the meeting with Emmert, but Huma said the invite from the NCAA was for just those three to be involved Thursday.


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