The rugged nature of early-day football—including the lack of technology in protective gear (leather helmets)—resulted in numerous injuries and deaths, and prompted many universities and colleges to discontinue the sport.
In early December 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt summoned college athletics leaders to two White House conferences to encourage reform. In 1906, the leaders created the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (“IAAUS”) to implement rules to govern collegiate football. The IAAUS changed its name to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) in 1910.
The NCAA is now the governing body over athletics for more than 1,300 colleges, universities, conferences, and organizations (including all schools who compete in the College Football Playoff and “Bowl Championship Series,” as well as smaller schools competing to attend the NCAA Division II and II Football Championship). The NCAA holds itself out as the ultimate authority on player safety. The NCAA touts that their mission is to “emphasize student-athlete safety.” The NCAA says it strictly requires all players and coaches to abide by its rules, information, and procedures. However, the NCAA and some of its member conferences have ignored studies warning of long-term damage from concussions for several decades by placing financial gain ahead of player safety.
Fast forward to today: nearly one hundred thousand young men compete in college football each year. During football season, millions of Americans dedicate their entire weekend to watching the games. On game days, millions of fans fill stadium seats across the country, and tens of millions tune in to watch the games on TV. The NCAA and its member conferences benefit enormously from their student athletes. On average, the NCAA has made about $814 million in the past ten years.1 In 2014 alone, the NCAA had a total revenue of nearly $1 billion!2 Of course, student athletes are not entitled to any of this cash, are not allowed to engage in collective bargaining, and do not receive any long-term health care for brain injuries incurred while they were playing.
Stay tuned for more upcoming blogs about the specific brain injuries suffered by football players while playing at an NCAA-member school. To learn more about Circelli, Walter & Young, PLLC, please visit http://www.cwylaw.com/.
1Tom Gerencer, How Much Money Does the NCAA Make?, MoneyNation (Mar. 22, 2012), http://moneynation.com/how-much-money-does-the-ncaa-make/.
2Steve Berkowitz, NCAA Nearly Topped $1 Billion in Revenue in 2014, USA Today Sports (March 11, 2015), http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/college/2015/03/11/ncaa-financial-statement-2014-1-billion revenue/7016138