Players fight back when NCAA says they can't keep locker-room rugs as souvenirs

Yahoo Sports

The NCAA has a remarkable knack for sticking its foot in its mouth.

An organization widely chastised for running a billion-dollar business using unpaid labor has chosen its latest battle over locker-room rugs.

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Players participating in the NCAA tournament are making out with souvenirs, locker-room mementos that include nameplates and NCAA-branded towels, The Wall Street Journal reports.

These items are up for grabs as keepsakes of the cherished life experience of participating in the NCAA tournament.

NCAA stops players from taking locker-room rugs

Except the rugs. Don’t take the rugs.

Players are being stopped by security and instructed by locker-room signage that the bathmat-sized rugs are strictly off limits, according to WSJ.

“I thought it would be a really cool souvenir to take home,” Purdue guard Ryan Cline told WSJ of trying to wrangle a rug. “But a security guard was like ‘No, you can’t take it. Somebody from Florida State tried to and we wouldn’t let him.’”

An organization widely chastised for running a billion-dollar business using unpaid labor has chosen its latest battle over locker-room rugs. (Getty)
An organization widely chastised for running a billion-dollar business using unpaid labor has chosen its latest battle over locker-room rugs. (Getty)

The NCAA confirmed to WSJ that the rugs, indeed, are not available for the taking.

“There is team-specific signage in every locker room that teams can take once they have finished playing at the site but we were clear that the rugs could not be taken,” NCAA director of media coordination and statistics David Worlock told WSJ.

Iowa player holding rug hostage

Players are fighting back. One player is using the opportunity to make a point about the larger issue of players not being paid while starring in the lucrative NCAA tournament.

Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon made out with a rug. And he’s holding it hostage. His demand? The ability for players to profit off their names.

Bohannon’s not even demanding payment from his school or the NCAA. He’s asking the NCAA to loosen the rules that restrict student-athletes from making endorsement money at the risk of losing their eligibility.

Other players make out with rugs

Bohannon is not the only player from the tournament to have made away with a rug.

WSJ reports that Florida State players made out with at least one and that Virginia and Auburn players may have done so as well.

So far, there are no hostage reports from other programs.

The NCAA has not responded. Here’s guessing the organization decides to let the missing rugs go. NCAA brass is surely not giving in to Bohannon’s demand.

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