The NCAA and the national anthem

Zac Grasl, Staff Reporter

Since the start of the NFL 2016 season, the NFL has been the center of attention due to the national anthem protests, which was started by former quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Since then, it has become a league-wide movement and not just among black players. However, with the NFL making policies on the national anthem, the NCAA has remained silent on their policy on the anthem.

While NCAA Division I programs have not had any issues with the national anthem, a spokesperson for Colorado Christian University (CCU), a member of the NCAA Division II level, released a statement saying that the university athletic department had banned their athletes from ever protesting the national anthem, saying the protests show “disrespect toward our country.” CCU has been the only NCAA program at any level to publicly say that their student-athletes will never protest the national anthem. Jeff Hunt, who directs the CCU Centennial Institution, said that he is proud that CCU will never take part in the “disrespectful protests.”

With the NCAA doing their best to keep their programs out of politics and strictly focus on athletics, this has caused mixed reviews. According to a twitter poll taken by ESPN, 65 percent of the users who voted in the poll said they would want to see the NCAA make a comment on what side of the protest they are on. 

“I’m not that into sports but the national anthem has caught my attention,” Oakland University senior Drew Jones said. “I am all for the protests because these players have the right and the NCAA has the freedom of speech and should not be criticized for what their stance is. I want to hear from the NCAA what their positon on the issue is and if they will create a national anthem policy, either to what the NFL has (players can choose to stay in the locker room during the anthem or go out on the field and stand during the anthem) or if they will ban the protests completely.”

Some fans believe it is a smart move by the NCAA to remain numb on the national anthem protests, while others wish the NCAA would just make a comment about them. It is a lose-lose situation.

What keeps the NCAA and the NFL separate is that in the NFL, the players are what bring in the money for the owners. If the players don’t get what they want, then there is no team and if there is no team, then the owners are not making money. While in the NCAA, these college student-athletes are not getting paid, so they are somewhat expendable. Not to mention that if one player kneels during the anthem and the coach decides to cut that person from the team, then there is no NFL Players Association (NFLPA) to protect the college student-athletes.