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.
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.