Has the NCPA Movement Made Waves in the Orange Locker Room?

Jerome Smith and Prince-Tyson Gulley sound off on the NCPA movement.

The three most important letters surrounding college athletics these days are “APU”—All Players United, that is. That’s the message the National Collegiate Players Association made a week and a half ago when several top college football players from multiple institutions across the country wore wristbands with the acronym “APU” visible for every little ESPN camera to see.

And viewers did see.

And they best not overlook those three letters. The organization preaches protection for college athletes in a variety of ways including benefits for concussions, better physical care, and, of course, compensation for players.


Two weeks after QB Kain Colter diced Syracuse through the air, he donned black tape on either wrist, with a white APU logo etched into each one. Georgia Tech QB Vad Lee, who the Orange plays in a few weeks, did the same. But has the movement slipped into the SU locker room?


For now, the answer is no. Tailback Jerome Smith told the Fizz that he wasn’t even aware of the movement. See, the beauty of the NCPA is that it’s not a union. Amateur athletes (and amateur anything, for that matter) can’t unionize. It would be against NCAA policy. So joining this “movement,” led by former UCLA football player Ramogi Huma, is the next best option. And NCAA officials should take serious notice. This is the first, and very minute (but extremely strong) message college athletes can take to promote that they need better benefits. The NCPA urges that players need compensation to play in the form of trust funds.


It’s all about the athlete’s value, and how these players push that limit. Kain Colter, for example, has tested that line. He’s one of the most outspoken players in the country when it comes to the need for athletes to be paid. But no one around the ‘Cuse is talking payments for its services.


Former Syracuse tailback Antwon Bailey could not remember one player during his time on the Hill that cared more about being paid compared to winning. “Athletes, they’re more aware of what’s going on around them, opposed to the older guys, or even when I was in college. When I was there, it was all about changing the guard, turning the program around, so everything else was secondary,” Bailey said.


It’s no longer a matter of whether or not athletes will get paid. Right or wrong, it is irrelevant at this point. In some way, it might surely happen in college athletics. If and when dozens of the country’s premier programs (such as the 72 current BCS programs) break away from the NCAA, there will be no more governing body to enforce the strict ban of payment to players. Athletes’ value will skyrocket. Syracuse running back Prince-Tyson Gulley admitted to the Fizz, though, that he didn’t think players would be able to handle such compensation.


Would athletes be reckless with their money? Would it be harmful rather than helpful to turn amateur athletics into a professional sector? Sooner or later, the college world will find out. And that day could be right around the corner.


Posted: Kevin Fitzgerald

15 Comments on this Post

  1. @Russell Stugots;

    Kind of looks like the dominoes are starting to fall at the University of Texas. The athletic director DeLoss Dodds will be stepping down at years end.

    Will Mac Brown be forced out when the season is over? Does anyone believe that Greg Robison will replace him?

  2. I guess I’m a dreamer and not a realist…. I ask myself a simple question.. Why should NCAA football players get paid..? I get that there is greed and a lot of folks are making money, but so what? The system worked fine for 100 years… Players received invaluable exposure and $150K worth of education. The point of going to school is to get a job. If you go on a football scholarship you hope to get a job in the NFL. Alabama is like Harvard for wanna be NFL football players.

    I like Colin Cowherds take on paying players. He believes money doesn’t solve the poverty problem most of these players face.. Only education can fix it. If you can’t get to the NFL at least you have something to fall back on. The little bit of money they would receive from the pay-to-play format is not going to do diddly to help them long term.

    I think the purity of the sport started to crumble when coaches started earning 1M paychecks. The universities lost their souls once coaches started earning more money than administrators and teachers. I get that sports attracts students.. but c’mon, the core mission of a school “should be” education.

  3. Aaron,I couldn’t have said it better!Its no longer good enough to be a pampered BMOC?Training table meals while regular students eat Cup of Soup?Exposure,free top education?Whats next?Paying the girls polo team?Im not happy to be around to see the beginning of the end days of the “strong american” as the son of a man from “Greatest generation”!!I hear rugby and soccer have bigger concussion problems than FB never mind boxing!Heck in the 50s and 60s some of us kids played tackle w/o helmets or leathers helmets and now its come to this?

  4. BK SU FB fan

    I think everyone seriously has to view it through the prism of a collegiate athlete though. And to go one step further, the eyes of a collegiate athlete who comes from rougher backgrounds and lower income families. I’m not for turning the college sports into pro sports. Mainly because I cannot think of a feasible and equitable way to do so. But I do think things need to be examined and possibly adjusted. If you follow Jay Bilas, I think he makes alot of valid points in regards to the state of collegiate athletics. If there was purity in college sports, then we wouldn’t have mega conferences and big budget tv contracts, videogame sales and other big cash generating promotions that create direct monetary compensation for everyone except the athletes directly responsible for it. We’d see things more along the lines of many div 3 athletic depts where the coaches might serve some additional purpose or role on campus, where the little dank gynasium is filled with the smell of popcorn and hotdogs and the stands are loaded with the friends and families of the kids playing on the court.

    I don’t want to lose sight of is the value of the education. On that point I agree with you guys. If an athlete can somehow manage insane time obligations between scholastic and athletic endeavors, he’d be wise to utilize the college experience and line up a nice fall back option. With that said, the cost of that education shouldn’t solely be seen as sufficient compensation. A 100k dollar education isn’t infinitely better than a more affordable lower tuition school(CCNY boasts some noteworthy professors and rigorous academic programs at a fraction of the larger schools).

  5. BK SU FB fan

    And while other sports might have bigger concussion issues..it does not negate that fact that football has concussion issues.

    I think the NCAA has opened itself up to such lawsuits and movements because its policies come off as some greedy corporation that restricts the freedom of its “workforce”. I understand why regulations are in place, but understand that the system needs reform. Random student A may not be a BMOC(unless he comes from a wealthy family), but if he is on an academic scholarship, he can utilize the tools used to acquire that scholarship in a manner that can financially enrich him or her.Business students can work hard, develop a business plan, try to secure funding and make something happen. Random student B can go out and secure a job. Student Athlete C will find it difficult to find many above board ways to generate cash for himself while in school. Time constraints and very tight regulations make it so. They cannot utilize the tools that earned them a scholarship to make money for themselves or families that they have left behind. Heck there was one story where an athlete/business major tried to develop a sports apparel company but somehow ran afoul of NCAA regulations.

    To sum it all up, I’m not saying straight up pay players. I’m saying that something has to be done considering the current state of college sports(big time revenue sports). I’m also asking everyone to objectively look at this situation. Try to separate from the fan perspective where all athletes are greedy, entitled and selfish.

  6. BK SU FBfan,thanks for a sensitive well written and thought out post but it seems that the modern helmet is the “cause” of the problem according to some when its used as a weapon where they wouldn’t otherwise lead/spear w/o it?Most of the athletes who choose FB are poorer kids whose parents would not otherwise be able to send there kids to college w/o sports schollies!Is FB a rough,dangerous sport?Yes but so is rockclimbing,rugby,Lacrosse and many other manly endevours but thats just why we love,respect and reward them and FB is so popular!Can we guarantee complete safety to anyone in any sport?Somehow greed has leaked all the way down to the student-athlete through greedy lawyers fanning the flames and litigation will kill the golden goose for the athlete and the fan.But I appreciate your concern and viewpoint which is quite valid….Ha Ha again politics infiltrates even our Fizz site where we come for escape from the everyday problems we all encounter/experience!!

  7. BK SU FB fan

    I understand the danger in football. Honestly its a part of the appeal to the sport. I’m not for banning the sport(just to make it clear). I’m just saying when issues arise as far as safety or compensation arise, we should examine how to make things better.

  8. @BK SU FB fan;

    I think there is a point that everyone is missing in this argument and that is a majority of the players are from the inner city where if you get into a fight,you could die.

    The real good football players are just releasing frustration by showing the powers to be that I’m good enough to play in the NFL. They’re after that pot of gold,can anyone here blame them for going all out during a football game.

    I remember watching a documentary on ESPN about how gang members are playing college football at some schools. So qwhat did you expect to happen?

    The biggest culprit in all of this is we the “fans”. We demand and pay big bucks to watch the best play football. If they get hurt while getting paid Millions of dollars. Oh well that’s also a part of the game.

  9. bk su fb fan

    Ron thats an excellent point

  10. Ron,thats it….plain and simple!A modern day gladiator or Roman Coliseum at the stadiums each and every fall saturday!!The masses need the controlled violence to appease the masses!Football America’s sport or Opium of the masses?

  11. Russell I don’t want anyone to think I hate the gasme of football because I don’t.

    The players know what they’re getting into when they start playing the game. With the amount of money that these players are getting paid,wouldn’t you think that they would set some of the money aside to prepare themselves for the future. Way to often we hear or read about the pro players that’s broke. What the hell did they do with all of that money?

    When a team owner want renovations done or a new stadium built,people don’t realize that all of those billionares pass those expenses onto the tax payers on top of paying to watch the team play.

  12. Thanks for stnatirg the ball rolling with this insight.

  13. Reading this makes my decisions easier than taking candy from a baby.

  14. I came, I read this article, I conquered.

  15. You make things so clear. Thanks for taking the time!

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