College Hoops

Meet Ramogi Huma, whose decades-long crusade for fairness in college athletics is finally coming to fruition

Meet Ramogi Huma, whose decades-long crusade for fairness in college athletics is finally coming to fruition


It was a team meeting you’d never want to be a part of. Ramogi Huma was a wide-eyed prospect from Covina, California, in the mid-1990s absorbing the ground rules for playing at UCLA.

“They called them voluntary workouts, but they clearly weren’t voluntary,” said Huma, a linebacker who went on to grab all of two career interceptions. “When we were told that the NCAA had a rule that, should we be injured during summer workouts, UCLA was prohibited from paying for our medical expenses, that was a big deal for me.”

So big that something clicked. Something bigger than himself and, ultimately, bigger than the NCAA and college athletics.

A players’ rights movement was born. A quarter of a century later, Huma is college athletics’ chief activist. The title, well, we just gave him that because the folks he antagonizes certainly won’t.

If you don’t know his name, you certainly know what he has wrought. As college athletics stands on the precipice of transformative change to something that may not even resemble college athletics, Huma is the college landscape’s leading disruptor, a force so subtly impactful that he has earned that one-name reference that everybody knows in the college halls of power: “Ramogi.” 

When you put the resume of Huma — executive director of the National College Players Association — up against any of college athletics’ power brokers, no one has done more to further college players’ rights. 

If nothing else, he has outlasted most of them. In reality, Huma has arguably accomplished more than any of them. During the 23 years since Huma formed the nonprofit NCPA in 2001, the NCAA has had four executive directors/presidents. The Power Five conferences employed a combined 15 commissioners.

Huma, 46, remains as a singular force, pushing for what amounts to basic human rights through 12 sessions of Congress and four presidents. Yes, he has been that impactful, speaking truth to power in the highest seats of power but also making sense.

“He’s as totally committed to trying to make the lives of athletes better on the ground,” said Ellen Staurowsky, an Ithaca College professor who has partnered with Huma on several research projects. “[He’s] going against the system even with all these lawsuits, even with all these losses in court and these massive amounts of money college executives have paid to defend a stance that is indefensible,…

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