Suing the NCAA for not stopping concussions

Suing the NCAA for not stopping concussions

As much crap as attorneys get, the truth is that lawsuits save lives and stop injustice.

 There is perhaps no more unjust organization in the country than the NCAA.  Coaches get guaranteed contracts, players get one year scholarships that don’t have to be renewed.  Coaches can leave for a new job whenever they want, players have to sit out for one year and can be restricted by their coach as to what new school they go to.  Coaches make millions, players get the scholarship with no right no make money off of their likeness and they are restricted from working at all.  The school can sell a player’s likeness and the player doesn’t get a penny of that.  Schools and the NCAA sell TV contracts for games that rake in billions and they players don’t get a cut of that.  Now I’m not saying that a scholarship, coaching and exposure has no value, but the fairness of the situation is absurd and beyond hypocritical.

 But none of these examples affects the health and safety of a player (although not having money to buy food could be considered a safety issue).  With the full disclosure that I referred out this case to the lawyer that is handling it, (see: http://tracking.si.com/2013/07/20/ncaa-emails-concussion-lawsuit/), there is evidence that football coaches and administrators have ignored the health and safety of football players when it comes to diagnosing, treating and preventing concussions.  The most damning allegations are that half of the schools surveyed didn’t require a player to see a physician before going back in to a game after a concussion and the excuses given for that was that it cost too much and was too time consuming.

 The common response from naysayers to these types of allegations is that you have to be an idiot to not know that football is a dangerous sport.  That’s true?  But that’s not what this case is about.  This case is about the fact that there is a great imbalance of power and control between the NCAA and member institutions and the players that help make them a lot of money.  Schools for the most part simply do not protect their athletes.

And unlike professional athletes who have a union to look out for them and also can receive disability payments, pensions and further medical care, most injured NCAA athletes are left with nothing.

 One of the great ironies pointed out in the story is that Penn St. was sanctioned heavily for not protecting children that were abused.  While those sanctions were deserved, there hasn’t been one school that has been sanctioned for not protecting the health of their players.  And the number of concussion victims is in the thousands.

 Now I don’t wish to debate the merits of this case on the blog and the attorneys for each party will go through that process in the Court.  But for all the people that don’t like lawyers, the simple truth is that cases like this improve and save lives.  It might not make you happy that the star player on your favorite team won’t be able to come back in to a game after he gets lit up.  But if you care about that player as a person, then a case like this should make you thrilled.  Even if the case isn’t a winner, and most experts believe that it will be, this case will change how schools handle concussions.  The sad truth is that the NCAA had the ability to make the change on their own and failed to do so.
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