A trio of men's basketball players asked NCAA President Mark Emmert during a video call Thursday to abide by, and enforce, Title IX gender equity rules and to create a waiver that would let college athletes start earning money from use of their names, images and likenesses this year.
What did the three students say they heard in return?
“A lot of talk,” according to Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon.
Another player involved, Rutgers’ Geo Baker, said Emmert repeatedly referred to waiting for Congress to intervene and summed up the session this way: “What it really sounded like was that the NCAA doesn’t really want to be the first to make action.”
“We brought up a lot of our points, and it’s kind of like he would say the same thing and kind of agree with us. But that really wasn’t going anywhere,” Michigan’s Isaiah Livers said. “And obviously, from what I hear, he likes to kind of talk about points instead of make action.”
Emmert's take: “We had a really good, really constructive conversation,” he said during an availability later Thursday, “and I look forward to continuing to work with them and others.”
In coordination with the National College Players Association, the athletes used a social media campaign — with the Twitter hashtag #NotNCAAProperty — during March Madness to protest rules that deny NIL rights and to put a spotlight on differences between the men's and women's basketball tournaments wrapping up this weekend in Indiana and Texas.
“Let this be the last NCAA tournament designed to treat women’s basketball players as inferior to men’s basketball players. Let this be the last NCAA tournament that generates a billion dollars from the talents of predominately black basketball players who aren’t allowed to make one dime off their own name," Ramogi Huma, executive director of the National College Players Association, said on a call with reporters after the three players spoke with Emmert and, in a separate video meeting, Sens. Cory Booker and Richard Blumenthal.