They wanted to make a statement, so they went to the tape.
Last Saturday, when Georgia Tech, Georgia and Northwestern took the field, some players did so with wrist tape marked by three simple letters: APU. The acronym, standing for All Players United, was started in protest over the NCAA’s treatment of student-athletes, a gesture reportedly born from months of conference calls and discussions.
“Players will continue to wear the APU throughout the season and spread the word,” National College Players Association President Ramogi Huma told ESPN. “They’re taking the reform effort to television, which has never been done. They’ve been using their bodies to make money for the people who run NCAA sports. Now, for the first time, they’re using their bodies to push for basic protections at the very least.”
So what if some Maryland football players approached Coach Randy Edsall and expressed a similar desire to support the movement?
“I don’t have any opinion on it one way or the other,” Edsall said Wednesday during the weekly ACC coaches’ teleconference. “I did read about that, but again if our players had anything in regards to that, they’d come in and sit down and talk about it. If players are going to be involved in, really everybody should be involved.
“If everybody supports it, then fine. If it’s a few individuals, I don’t think that’s, in my opinion, that’s the team concept. Either everybody’s in or you don’t support that. Again, it’s great players have that ability to express their opinions for what they might believe in.”
Long known as a coach fiercely supportive of players’ rights, Edsall turned some heads at the ACC football kickoff this summer, saying he would “most definitely” join the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit against the NCAA, were he still playing college football today. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that, even if Edsall took a middling stance on the APU movement during Tuesday’s teleconference, he’d still back a team-wide movement.
>> Asked about Maryland receiving votes in both the Associated Press top 25 and USA Today coaches’ poll for the first time since after Edsall’s first game at Maryland in 2011, he responded with typical deference.
“First of all, I don’t think we should be ranking any teams until you get to the middle of October to see how anything comes out,” he said. “4-0, we haven’t accomplished anything yet. We don’t look at those things, we take it with a grain of salt, know we have to continue to get better. We still have a lot of thins to work on, improve upon. That’s been our mindset: take one at a time and see where we’re at. It’s where you’re at at the end of the year, not where you’re at four games in.”