State News
1:17 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

U Of I Labor prof: NCAA settlement over concussions “not much”

A professor of labor relations says the NCAA’s approval of a proposed settlement of a lawsuit over head injuries is good news in that it would obligate schools to have safety protocols for athletes. But Michael LeRoy thought the amount would be more.

The agreement sets up a fund to diagnose current and former college players of contact sports, like football and hockey, to see if they suffered brain trauma.

But LeRoey also said that the $70-million fund proposed for the settlement isn’t much, given the number of college athletes potentially impacted. And he said it’s much less than a similar recent settlement for NFL players.

LeRoy notes that a judge last year rejected an initial settlement in that case.

“Judge (Anita) Brody, in an unusual but allowable ruling, said ‘I’m not accepting this settlement, I don’t think it’s enough," he said.  "And that seemed to signal that the attorneys were getting a little too much too fast too early, and not holding out for the plaintiff class, and I think that’s a possibility here, that’s just a hunch.”

Unlike the $765-million dollar settlement with the NFL that was finalized last August, the NCAA settlement doesn’t pay for damages, or medical care. That lack of damage payments prompted the judge in the case to delay a decision on preliminary approval Tuesday, saying he needed more information.

The proposed settlement would require doctors trained in concussion diagnosis to be present for all games played in contact sports -  and all players, coaches, and trainers will have to receive concussion education. 

The plaintiffs in the case include Adrian Arrington, who played football at Eastern Illinois University.