At Big Ten media days in July, Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter spoke critically about the NCAA’s philosophy of amateurism, which stipulates that student-athletes are not entitled to anything beyond the value granted in a room and board scholarship, and openly advocated for the implementation of a multi-thousand-dollar stipend to raise the value of grants-in-aid (or scholarships) closer to the cost of attendance.
His views were well-received, and added another student-athlete’s voice to the larger groundswell of distaste with many of the NCAA’s policies. Now Colter, in concert with a number of FBS players from different teams, is making his desire for change within the organization clear in plain sight.
On Saturday, Colter joined Georgia Tech quarterback Vad Lee, Georgia offensive lineman Kolton Houston and others in marking three letters – APU, which stands for “All Players United” – on a piece of his game day gear. According to ESPN’s Tom Farrey, Colter’s white marking on black wrist tape made “the most obvious and visible display.”
The APU movement is a unified effort to draw attention to some of the NCAA’s perceived injustices against student-athletes by using the spotlight of regional and national college football broadcasts, along with the promotion of a social media campaign featuring two hashtags: #APU and #ALLPlayers United.
Among the goals of All Players United are greater support for active student-athletes participating in the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit against the NCAA and EA Sports, the advancement of treatment and awareness for concussions on the NCAA’s legislative agenda and the presentation of a unified front in favor of NCAA reform.
Ramogi Huma, president of the National College Players Association, a group actively promoting NCAA change, said players plan to feature the three letters on game apparel throughout the season, and claims other “high-profile” FBS players have expressed interest in joining the movement.
At the visual forefront of APU, at least in its week 4 unveiling, was Northwestern’s starting quarterback. It will be interesting to see how Colter gets involved – whether he decides to take on a leadership role, or endorses a more conspicuous type of protest – the rest of the season.