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College athletes spoke out against the NCAA's business policies on Twitter.
The hashtag #NotNCAAproperty has spread across social media by athletes and supporters.
Current and former athletes cited examples of ways the NCAA has unfairly treated them.
College athletes took a stand for their rights on the eve of the NCAA Tournament.
The hashtag #NotNCAAproperty trended across Twitter on Wednesday, as student-athletes spoke out against the NCAA's policies that forbid them from being paid or even receiving just some basic rights that other students receive.
The campaign was ignited by Rutgers basketball player Geo Baker, who has led the program to its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1991. Baker and his teammate Ron Harper Jr. are now using the platform of their accomplishment to lead the charge against unfair treatment of student-athletes.
"The NCAA OWNS my name image and likeness," Baker wrote on Twitter. "Someone on [a] music scholarship can profit from an album. Someone on academic scholarship can have a tutor service. For [people] who say 'an athletic scholarship is enough,' anything less than equal rights is never enough. I am #NotNCAAProperty."
Rutgers men's basketball head coach Steve Pikiell put his support behind Baker and Harper during a press conference on Wednesday.
"We're a players program," Pikiell said, according to Steve Merrill of 247 Sports. "They have platforms now to speak out, and that's great. I remember being a student-athlete myself, and we had a lot of opinions. We just didn't have social media to share it. They have a voice, and we have great kids. They want change too. There's a lot in this world that needs to be changed."
Harper, who also spoke at Wednesday's press conference, hopes this generation of college athletes will be the turning point for fair compensation.
"This group of players that play college basketball right now are very active in the fight for our name, image, and likeness to be passed," Harper said. "This is a group of college kids that has sacrificed more than anybody ever has when it comes to playing college basketball. We've been isolated from friends, family, girlfriends, etc., for the whole year. Hopefully, we're at a turning point where the NCAA can look at us and pass the name, image, and likeness laws that we should rightfully receive."
Other men's basketball players gearing up to play in the tournament joined in on the cause, echoing Baker's cry for equal rights. These include Michigan's Isaiah Livers, Iowa's Jordan Bohannon, Virginia Tech's Wabissa Bede and Cordell Pemsl, and Wichita State's Dexter Dennis.
All players competing in March Madness are currently 'bubbled' together at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, where this year's tournament will be held due to the travel restrictions imposed by COVID-19.
Baker expressed discontent with what the NCAA has provided for the athletes in the bubble via Twitter on Tuesday. In response to CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein condemning those complaining about the conditions inside the bubble, Baker argued that 'more should be on the table' for the athletes that made the tournament happen.
When a fan responded to Baker's complaints about the food provisions, offering to bring food to him and his teammates, Baker pointed out that accepting free food is a violation of current NCAA policies.
Several other athletes have weighed in on the conversation by revealing instances where the NCAA's policies either controlled what they were allowed to do in their free time or revoked their status as student-athletes after making an illegal financial gain.
Jessica Siegle, a former college swimmer, echoed Baker's message and shared a story of how she and her teammates were not allowed to eat at certain restaurants in college.
Meanwhile, Mitchel Goulet, a former Divison III men's soccer player at Westfield State, revealed that he had to quit the team after he and his friend were paid $150 to make a video for sports apparel company Puma.
The NCAA currently forbids athletes from profiting off their name, image, and likeness (NIL). A rule has been proposed to allow student-athletes to profit off their NIL via endorsements, autographs, and private camps and clinics, which could open the door for potentially millions in revenue for student-athletes.
However, the NCAA delayed voting on the proposal back in January, noting "several external factors, including recent correspondence with the U.S. Department of Justice, prompted members to delay voting on the proposals."
Congress is expected to draft its own NIL legislation in the coming months, with a recent proposal introduced by Republican Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio. Meanwhile, Democrat Sen. Corey Booker of New Jersey has proposed an even more radical bill that would ensure that 50% of all revenue made by athletics departments be shared with athletes playing football and men's basketball.
Read the original article on Insider