Between the terrible events surrounding the Penn State football program, Mike Krzyzewski of Duke’s record-breaking win, and Taylor Branch’s controversial article in the September 2011 issue of The Atlantic magazine, there’s been a lot of coverage of college sports in the news lately. This isn’t necessarily unusual for Nebraskans. Our own University of Nebraska has one of the premier football programs, one which is revered by Cornhusker fans far and wide.
Recently, my good friends and fellow advocates for the injured, Charlie Domer and Len Jernigan wrote blog posts pointing out some of the challenges athletes face.
The bottom line of these posts is that athletes face serious health risks – from brain injuries to chronic obesity, and yet, in most states, collegiate athletes have only basic student health coverage to protect them and are prohibited by the NCAA’s strict rules from earning extra income to purchase additional coverage.
Since 1984, Nebraska law has provided additional protection for college athletes. Our schools offer a rare exception among college athletics programs by offering students a form of workers’ compensation.
In The Atlantic, Branch makes the point that the NCAA has treated college athletes unfairly for years. Schools profit tremendously from the risks student athletes take without compensating them beyond their college scholarships.
But Nebraska is different. Since 1984, Nebraska law has provided additional protection for college athletes. Our schools offer a rare exception among college athletics programs by offering students a form of workers’ compensation.
If we do continue to enforce amateurism in collegiate sports, perhaps Nebraska law can serve as an example for other states to follow.
This difference is because in 1984 the Nebraska Legislature enacted a law (Neb. Rev. Stat. § 85-106.05), which mandated that the University of Nebraska establish an insurance program to provide coverage to student athletes for personal injury or death while participating in university- organized games or practice in an intercollegiate athletic event.
This law covers students Continue reading