Category Archives: The NCAA

96 percent

There’s a judge-approved settlement proposal on the table in the concussion case filed against the NCAA.  The key terms look like this:

The proposed settlement, which was first submitted in July 2014, calls for a $70 million monitoring fund for former athletes, which would allow them the opportunity to receive neurological screenings to examine brain functions and any signs of brain damage like chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease. Under the settlement, the N.C.A.A. would also prevent athletes who have sustained a concussion from returning to a game or practice that day. [Emphasis added.]

United States District Judge John Z. Lee did request one notable change from the original settlement: that the N.C.A.A. not have complete immunity against class-action concussion litigation. Lee’s terms for approval include a provision that would still allow athletes at a particular college to sue their university and the N.C.A.A. as a class.

This is why you have to sue sometimes, folks.  Because on their own, the schools and their umbrella organization haven’t been able to agree to move forward with what sounds like the most basic protocol.  And now?

“After all the wait, we’ve basically got 96 percent of what we expected to get,” said Steve Berman, the lead counsel for the plaintiffs.

None of which is to say this is over and done.  That last bit means the sword of Damocles is still hanging over schools.  No wonder “(t)he N.C.A.A. issued a statement saying it was still reviewing Lee’s terms.”  If the NCAA rejects the deal, I can’t wait to hear Mark Emmert’s next ode to putting the student-athlete above all.

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UPDATE:  “Yes. They would always, you know, tend to put pressure on you to get good players back.”

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Filed under See You In Court, The Body Is A Temple, The NCAA

Opening the flood gates

You can see where this is headed.

Over/under on when beer sales commence in beautiful Sanford Stadium?

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Filed under The NCAA

“Ed O’Bannon ruined that for all of us.”

Kirk Herbstreit may not be an antitrust lawyer, but he certainly can be a selfish prick when the mood strikes him.

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Filed under The NCAA

Same old, same old

So the Age of Autonomy is upon us and big changes are afoot, right?  Um, they’ll have to get back to you on that.

Whereas a year ago the autonomy group enacted some landmark legislation that rippled through Div. I — highlighted by full cost of attendance stipends, guaranteed scholarships, and concussion protocols — the legislative package adopted by the Power Five this year was thoroughly non-controversial and rooted largely in NCAA minutia.

The biggest headline, in fact, was the resolution schools adopted to come up with a plan to address time demands on athletes — for next year’s convention.

“Last year I walked out of here feeling like we did something significant,” said Ty Darlington, one of the Big 12’s student representatives and the starting center on the football team. “This year I felt like we sort of relaxed.”

Better get used to that, Ty.

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said it “wasn’t a big deal” to table the proposal because there’s already an NCAA waiver process in place for athletes to address the issue if they wish.

It never is a big deal.  Unless it’s being litigated.

Here is the quintessential NCAA exchange:

Darlington, the Oklahoma football player, said it was unacceptable that the autonomy group couldn’t come up with a way to address the issue this year. He produced the most poignant moment of the entire session when he told the room he didn’t feel like it accomplished anything to significantly impact the student-athlete experience.

Oklahoma athletics director Joe Castiglione applauded the sentiment behind Darlington’s comments.

“His statements resonated with a lot of people, maybe the vast majority of people,” Castiglione said. “Hopefully that adds even more of a sense of urgency to getting these changes made. I  think people are very much engaged in the spirit and intent behind a number of these proposals, there were just a number of areas of the previous proposals that needed a little bit more work. In the long run, we will make a lot of progress, there’s no doubt about it and let’s be fair, there’s been a great deal of progress already made.”

In other words, trust ’em.  Hey, that’s worked out great so far, hasn’t it?

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Filed under Look For The Union Label, The NCAA

You can lead a school’s drug policy to water…

Snark aside, kudos to the NCAA for this.

Speaking to a small crowd at the NCAA’s annual meeting, Brian Hainline, the association’s medical chief, said mental health remains a top concern for the association and its members. This week, the NCAA’s Sport Science Institute released a new set of guidelines directing institutions on how to manage the mental health issues surrounding college athletics — issues like hyperaggressive behavior off the field and increased anxiety and stress from time commitments and high expectations related to sports.

“Concussions may be the elephant in the room, but mental health is really, I think, going to be a game changer for the NCAA,” he said. “My hope is that mental health is going to become as accessible to every student-athlete as an ankle sprain, and the NCAA is going to take a leadership role in telling the rest of the United States of America how to move away from the pathetic way it handles mental health. And it is pathetic.”

The new guidelines, released Tuesday ahead of the NCAA convention, outline four best practices for mental health care for college athletes. Much like the concussion protocols the NCAA released in 2014, the guidelines are not hard rules, and Hainline frequently referred to the list as “interassociation best practices,” rather than NCAA edicts.

And it’s a shame that’s as far as it goes.  Especially when you think of this in light of Georgia’s draconian drug rules:

Drinking and drug use is also a common issue, Hainline said. In 2013, more than 30 percent of female Division I athletes reported consuming more than four alcoholic beverages in one sitting, and 40 percent of male athletes consumed more than five. Nearly 16 percent of Division I male athletes reported consuming more than 10 drinks in one sitting. Eighteen percent of athletes reported regularly using painkillers like Vicodin, Oxycontin and Percocet. “These are high numbers,” Hainline said.

No shit.  Although I’m sure game suspensions, step running and public shaming have a dramatic effect on reducing that.

The main problem with Georgia’s drug policy is that it was put into place to solve one concern:  Michael Adams’ need to make it look like he was doing something.  To stubbornly adhere to it after his departure without taking stock of real world issues is dumb.  Or, if you prefer, the Georgia Way.

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Filed under Georgia Football, The NCAA

If there’s one thing the NCAA is good at…

… it’s recognizing something needs to be done about an issue affecting student-athletes, like this

Emmert’ speech also pushed universities to address “fairness” for college athletes, from how much time they spend on their sport compared to academics to making sure they are advancing toward their degrees.

… and then doing nothing about it at all.

Not just your garden variety momentum.  No, sir.  Huge momentum.

They mean well.  Shouldn’t that count?

That ought to tide everyone over until the next unionization vote.  Or lawsuit.  In the meantime, get your asses over to the practice field, boys.

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Filed under The NCAA

How do you know when the NCAA is FOS?

When a Division I Council chairman says that a rules change “was driven completely by what was best for the student-athletes.”

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Filed under It's All Just Made Up And Flagellant, The NCAA