Some of this settlement money is earmarked for research and prevention of concussions. Before this settlement, however, the NCAA had already taken a step in the direction of trying to prevent concussions and head injuries by implementing new and stricter penalties for targeting – hitting defenseless players – and using one’s helmet as a weapon to hit another player.
Whether motivated by litigation or simply to prevent more injuries, some teams have also taken steps to minimize head injuries while playing football. The Nebraska Cornhuskers, for example, have implemented rugby-style tackling techniques in order to minimize head injuries. While the push for the new style of tackling is mentioned as a way to minimize targeting penalties, perhaps the greater reason is that the big-time football programs of the country, like Nebraska, are feeling the pressure to be proactive as a team in actually reducing concussions and the long-term effects of head injuries.
But do the sacrifices that individual players make outweigh the financial rewards to the universities and governing bodies for which they play?
The Big 10 Conference alone earned $448 million in television revenue in 2015 and paid its commissioner $2.3 million. Meanwhile, college football players risk limb and sometimes even their lives without any compensation for the risks they take for their schools. Leaving it all on the field should refer to competition and effort, not the sacrifice of a player’s future.
Today’s post comes from guest author Jon Gelman from Jon Gelman, LLC – Attorney at Law in New Jersey. In light of Louisville basketball player Kevin Ware’s recent injury during the NCAA tournament, many commentators are calling for workers’ compensation protection for athletes. I wrote about this issue on our blog in late 2011 in this post: Nebraska – A Rare Example Of How To Treat Student Athletes Better. As I wrote, Nebraska law, since 1984, has provided some protection for college athletes, which is similar to the protection offered by workers’ compensation, but not in the workers’ comp system, of course. I am pleased that the Nebraska Legislature and University of Nebraska continue to be progressive when it comes to working with college athletes. Perhaps the Nebraska approach could be a model for other states, as Mr. Ware’s tragic injury will most likely cause him complications later in life. I wish him, and all injured college athletes, the best as they heal and then adjust to their new realities.
Student Athletes Should be Covered by Workers’ Compensation Policies
They call them “student players” and the schools, televisions companies and advertisers make the money. The “students” get injurede and no benefits are available for medical (except when over $90,000 on medical has been expended then an NCAA policy kicks in), no temporary disability or permanent disability are afforded. The student suffer lifetime and carrer altering injuries as they play their hearts out for the schools and they do so without adequate compensation.
There is major inequality going on in College sports which indeed is a BIG business.
The coaches hammer at the student players and entice them to play too many games in a growing TV broadcast season where one conference add up upon another expanding to greater proportions and placing serious physical demands upon the player resulting in accidents and injuries.
Additionally bullying by coaches as revealed by Rutgers Basketball Coach Rice physically assaults the students and berates them with indecent name calling.
Where is the accountability? The students are actually employed by the schools to earn profits for the educational institutions and corporate sponsors. The student players are being exploited. Student athletes should be covered by workers’ compensation policies.