A few years back, Steve Hatchell, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Football Foundation warned his sport was under siege.
Hatchell was worried that participation in the game was going to be impacted by the constant coverage of the concussion issue and whether concussions suffered in games caused permanent brain damage. That perception was not good and the foundation was leading the way to assure parents that football was safe.
But the members of the National Football Foundation, cannot be happy that there were more than a dozen concussion related lawsuits filed this month. Tom Sullivan, a one-time UCLA football captain is suing the NCAA and the Pac-12 over concussions in a case that seeks to include every UCLA player from 1959 to 2010.
The multiple filings appeared to be a coordinated effort as the plaintiffs used similar language to Sullivan’s case. The NCAA has not had a good run lately. The overseer of college sports lost a case in court and now has to pay former players some money for the use of former players’ likenesses in various promotional vehicles including video games. There are lawsuits working through the court challenging the NCAA on antitrust grounds and those lawsuits are trying to force the NCAA to pay athletes for work in sports in addition to a college scholarship.
The intention is to give the athletes, the ones earning money for putting on a show, more power. Right now, the NCAA member schools can give out scholarships and take them back for any reason from poor on field play to poor classroom results.
The NCAA member schools do not have to take care of players down the line who suffered major brain injuries which is why the lawsuits have been filed. Hatchell probably should have used a different word than siege but college sports, is getting some legal scrutiny.
By Evan Weiner For The Politics Of Sports Business
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.