Johnson: Players needed team OK for APU message
Coach Paul Johnson said Monday that the Georgia Tech players who joined a show of solidarity for NCAA reform should have first given all players on the team a chance to vote on the idea.
Johnson said coaches and most players had no idea quarterback Vad Lee, linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu and a few other players were carrying the letters APU - for All Players United - on wristbands in Saturday's 28-20 win over North Carolina. Johnson says he first learned of the message after the game.
''I think the first thing is there's probably a process that we didn't go through,'' Johnson said. ''In my mind what you do if the players all feel strongly about an issue, then they need to talk about it as a team and let the coaches know and it needs to be a team thing. Six guys don't represent the team, or whatever, when 80 of them don't even know what's going on and the coaches don't know what's going on.
''If that's the case and they want to support something, then certainly they have that right. I think you would tend to listen to what they have to say and give them the opportunity to support themselves.''
Some players from Georgia and Northwestern also had the letters APU on their gear Saturday in a show of solidarity for changes in the NCAA that was organized by the National College Players Association, an advocacy group that has pushed for athletes to receive more scholarship money, better health care and more say in NCAA rules.
Georgia Tech senior defensive tackle Euclid Cummings said he doesn't expect any players will wear the APU in Thursday night's game against Virginia Tech.
''I don't think it'll continue,'' Cummings said. ''It has to be something we all agree on. I just feel like we don't need that.''
Cummings said continued participation in the drive could cause a distraction ''because it was so hyped up.''
Johnson said no players have mentioned the movement since Saturday but the issue was discussed at a team meeting.
''Is it still out there? I don't know,'' Johnson said. ''Our team, we had a talk about hey, if it's going to be a team thing we need to talk about it as a team. We need to take a team vote and if everybody is in agreement or agrees, then OK, we can talk about what we can do.
''But you can't just have six guys say `OK this is important to me and I'm going to do this' and the other 79 not know about it.''
Ramogi Huma, president the National College Players Association, said he felt the unveiling of APU movement, which includes an online petition that anyone can sign, was successful.
''It had a major impact far beyond what was expected,'' he said in a phone interview Monday.
He also said the players who were involved did not intend to speak for the whole team.
''There was no attempt to try to educate the whole team,'' Huma said. ''I think the players designed this campaign so they can most feel comfortable taking a stand.''