Football is a great sport. Too bad it’s often ill-served by people in positions of authority.
Inside the NCAA’s labyrinthine bible of regulations are the 195 words of Rule 126.96.36.199. Adopted in 2010, they require each university to have a concussion management plan that includes putting the onus on athletes to report such injuries. Frostburg State had a plan in 2011 when Derek died, 6 pages of good intentions that could have been cribbed from a textbook.
While the organization’s bible mentions recruits 495 times and plunges into legislative minutiae on matters such as logo size, movies and the permissible dimensions of institutional notecards, 15 lines are given to head injuries. The NCAA once punished a football player for accepting a free sandwich, imposed $60 million in penalties on Penn State in the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal and recently finished a circuitous three-year investigation of the relationship between a jailed booster and the University of Miami’s athletics department.
But the NCAA, founded 1906 in response to a swarm of football injuries and deaths, doesn’t enforce its own concussion rule.
David Klossner, former NCAA director of health and safety, admitted as much in a deposition this year in an unrelated federal lawsuit challenging the NCAA’s concussion policy:
Q: Are member institutions required to submit their concussion management plans to the NCAA?
Q: Have any member schools been disciplined regarding concussion management plans?
A: Not to my knowledge.
Q: Has the NCAA considered disciplining any member institutions regarding concussion management plans?
A: No, not to my knowledge.
In an interview with The Washington Times weeks before the deposition, Mr. Klossner and an NCAA representative said no university, to their knowledge, had been investigated or penalized for violating the rule.
Well, in its defense, the NCAA’s kinda been busy lately. But don’t think it doesn’t care about the well-being of student-athletes. Especially if there’s money to be made from it.
More outrage here, if you’re interested.