Several prominent players made a strong statement in Saturday's games, taking the field with "APU" -- All Players United -- written on their gear to protest the way the NCAA treats athletes.
According to ESPN, the players included Georgia OL Kolton Houston, who was kept from playing for three years by a NCAA ruling on a drug test, plus Georgia Tech's QB Vad Lee and defensive end Jeremiah Attaochu. According to the National College Players Association, a player advocacy group, it will include others throughout the day. Lee is pictured at the top of this story with the letters written on his wristband.
It's arguably the most prominent statement any players have made against an organization that's taking increasingly high levels of heat for their policies. The gesture was organized by players at various BCS schools over the past few months, but came as a surprise: no announcement was made prior to a press release shortly after the kickoff of Saturday's noon games.
There's no one specific policy being protested, but the "APU" sightings are meant meant to simply raise awareness of the NCPA's campaign of the same name.Players have used the letters in hashtags on social media, and now fans are encouraged to sign a petition on the NCPA's website.
In past, the NCPA has taken stands against the NCAA on a variety of issues, from player compensation to treatment of injured athletes. The NCAA has insisted they won't punish players for standing up for their rights, but there hasn't been anything as noticable as this.
In response, the NCAA says it welcomes debate, and no coach has expressed major concerns yet. In fact:
Mark Richt indicated after the game he didn't know about the wristband protest, but added: "It's a free country."— Seth Emerson (@SethEmerson) September 22, 2013