Daily Archives: July 20, 2013

Knocked out

Tony Barnhart had a piece up from SEC Media Days about the new targeting rules and got to the main purpose behind them:

The bottom line is this rule change, and the reason people like Shaw believe it’s so significant, is bigger and more important than any single player, any single game, or any single season. With a class-action law suit on concussions against the NFL working its way through the court system, college football officials know they have to be proactive on this subject. Someday they may have to sit in a court of law and be asked the following question: “Did you do everything you could to make the game as safe as possible?”

The answer to that question had better be yes.

Unfortunately, that hasn’t always been the case.

Back in January 2010, two NCAA staffers exchanged a series of emails mocking the concussion safety efforts of David Klossner, the organization’s director of health and safety.

“Dave is hot/heavy on the concussion stuff,” wrote Ty Halpin, the director of playing rules administration. “He’s been trying to force our rules committees to put in rules that are not good — I think I’ve finally convinced him to calm down.”

“He reminds me of a cartoon character,” responded Nicole Bracken, the associate director of research.

“”HA! I think you’re right about that!” Halpin wrote.

The emails are part of hundreds of pages of internal NCAA documents and depositions filed in federal court late Friday, as part of a motion seeking class-action status for a lawsuit challenging the organization’s handling of head injuries.

(More details on that potential class action matter here.)

Worse for us, one of those e-mails hits close to home.

A 2009 email from a University of Georgia assistant football trainer discussed potential NCAA concussion legislation and admitted athletes were returned to games after suffering concussions.

“I personally have seen an athlete knocked unconscious and return in the same quarter in recent years,” Dean Crowell wrote in an email to Klossner as several others.

Here’s the actual text.  (h/t Jon Solomon)

That’s pretty disturbing.  I’d like to know who was involved in the decision to let the player return to action and who was injured.  It’s certainly not news you’d expect out of the program.

This is going to get some attention.

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Filed under Georgia Football, The Body Is A Temple

Cross his heart and hope to die.

I think this is supposed to reassure us.

Orlando Sentinel: Do you foresee conference expansion continuing and adding more teams to the SEC?

Slive: “I can’t speak for anybody else, but it is not on our agenda. I was telling somebody earlier today that it’s not on the front burner and if it was on the back burner there is no flame. It’s just not on our agenda. As a matter of fact, when you look back, when we expanded we weren’t going to expand. If A&M and Missouri hadn’t come to us, we still would have been 12. Now will anybody … do it, well, your guess is as good as mine. Having said that, as I think about the national scene, stability would be helpful.”

Translation:  if something else falls in our laps, we’ll expand the conference with as little thought as we did before.

The next time it happens, they can call it a tradition.  Just keep sending those checks, folks.

9 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

The NCAA cracks.

Down the road, I firmly believe we’ll look back on this week as crucial to how the O’Bannon case played out.  First, the NCAA bailed out of its licensing arrangement with EA Sports, a move clearly designed to cap liability exposure.  Then comes this extraordinary comment from the organization’s chief counsel:

“College sports today are valued by the student-athletes who compete and all of us who support them,” Donald Remy, the NCAA’s vice president for legal affairs, said in a statement. “However, the plaintiffs’ lawyers in the likeness case now want to make this about professionalizing a few current student-athletes to the detriment of all others. Their scheme to pay a small number of student-athletes threatens college sports as we know it.

“In particular, we would lose the very real opportunity for at least 96% of NCAA male and female student-athletes who do not compete in Division I men’s basketball or FBS football to play a sport and get an education, as they do today.”

“(T)hreatens college sports as we know it.”  The organization has embraced its inner Delany with that.  (Of course, the amusing thing is that Delany was forced to backtrack from that sentiment in a deposition for the case.  The NCAA can’t even keep up with what’s apocalyptic these days.)  Anyway, it’s the first time it’s publicly admitted the possibility that something other than complete and total vindication is at hand.  Combine that with the decision to sever ties with EA Sports, and I bet you’ve got more than a few of Emmert’s constituents wondering what the hell he’s been selling them about the lawsuit all this time.

But the truly remarkable part of Remy’s comments is the acknowledgement that amateurism itself isn’t the lofty in and all goal that justifies the NCAA’s existence.  Instead, it’s revealed as little more than a tawdry means to an end, the lever that lets college athletics prop itself up with an increasingly corrupt business model.  And, of course, this being the NCAA, Remy can’t even admit to that without BSing.  Those scholarship costs of the 96% are largely a mirage.  Schools don’t pay anything for those; at worst they could argue that they’re forgoing receiving tuition moneys from the kids whose slots are taken by these student-athletes.  Granted, there are some associated costs, like room and board, that are real expenses, but that’s not where the money the 4% help generate is going for the most part.  That would be your coaching salaries, your capital improvements, your reserve funds, your bloated recruiting budgets, your bowl expenses… and Mark Emmert’s salary.

Somehow, I don’t think the 4% signed up for that.

If the judge grants the class action certification to the O’Bannon plaintiffs, it’ll be a complete nightmare for the NCAA.  And it’s one that could have been avoided cheaply at the beginning (and probably made the organization look good, too.)  Instead, I have a funny feeling that John Infante’s intellectual exercise may soon be morphing into a road map.

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Filed under The NCAA