"they're using their bodies to push for basic protections"

Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter made the most visible and obvious display, writing "APU" in large white letters on black wrist tape.

No announcement was made before the game, and just after kickoff a statement about the effort was released through the National College Players Association, an advocacy group that supports NCAA reform.

Ramogi Huma, NCPA president, told "Outside the Lines" that the gesture was months in the making, with players from across the country having participated in weekly conference calls. He said high-profile players on other BCS teams that competed later Saturday have expressed interest in participating as well.

Huma said players plan to continue to use their visibility on nationally televised games to draw attention to the effort, associated with the social-media hashtags #APU and #AllPlayersUnited.

Read More | "Players Mark Gear in Protest" | Tom Farrey | ESPN