Would The NCAA Tolerate Anthem Protests?

Protests could happen.



It is the first college football Saturday since National Football League players staged a protest against Donald Trump who called for the firing of players who kneeled during the National Anthem. The question of could that happen in college football needs to be addressed. The answer is yes. Colleges and universities have been at the center of major protests and if you don’t believe that read about the history of the Vietnam War campus protests, particularly Kent State in 1970. But would college football players today who have almost no rights and who are controlled by coaches who believe they should not get paid for their work and that they should be grateful for a scholarship, take a knee? The answer is not known but if recent history is a guide, the players will protest. Last year, University of Missouri football players hit at the very core of college sports existence. The Missouri players were going to strike and join with University of Missouri student activists in demanding the ouster of the university president because of how Tim Wolfe responded or didn’t respond to racist attacks on students in 2016. The players got support from the coach Gary Pinkel. Wolfe resigned. The football team going on strike would have cost the school at least one million dollars had a game in Kansas City been canceled. Money talked.


Student-athletes live by rules set up by school presidents, chancellors, board of trustees. The term student-athlete is a dodge to get around work rules. When Northwestern University football players wanted to unionize, President Barack Obama’s appointees at the National Labor Relations Board said no. It might ruin the balance of college sports. If the players protest that might upset some diehard college football fans who want to be entertained but protests happen at schools. In the end, money talks. The players hold the purse strings.



NCAA has not had many anthem protests yet.