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SBD/July 30, 2014/Colleges
Plaintiffs' Lawyer Criticizes NCAA's Concussion Settlement For Lacking Compensation
Published July 30, 2014
EASY WAY OUT? Co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs Joe Siprut said, "I think it's a great resolution to an epidemic." He added, "I think that we're getting essentially everything that we could have gotten if we had gone all the way." USA TODAY's Rachel Axon noted Chicago-based Siprut PC "first filed a lawsuit in Sept. 2011 on behalf of Adrian Arrington, a former Eastern Illinois football player who suffers from headaches, seizures, depression and other effects of at least five documented concussions." Siprut said that the medical monitoring procedures would "give plaintiffs the basis on which to build individual personal injury claims." He added, "There wasn't really a good way to deal with that on a class basis, so the best we could do was create a platform for people to be able to make those claims individually" (USATODAY.com, 7/29). But in Chicago, Rick Telander writes if the NFL gave up more than $750M to its "brain-damaged players, why is the NCAA getting off so lightly?" Especially because the agreement "covers all sports, male and female." Siprut said, "It's as much as we could have gotten at trial for class action" (SUNTIMES.com, 7/30).
HOW IT'S PLAYING: CBS' Mark Strassmann said, "The NCAA admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement. ... Critics point out that this settlement does not require the NCAA to pay any medical expenses and a federal judge still has to approve of this settlement and he may do that in September" ("Evening News," CBS, 7/29). PBS' Gwen Ifill said the settlement will bring "some big changes in the way college sports plans to deal with head injuries." Ifill added, "Unlike the NFL settlement, this agreement does not pay for medical expenses." USA Today's Axon noted the new protocols about head injuries are only "guidelines and the settlement says the NCAA will present this to the Executive Committee to follow through the normal process but that means the schools must approve these as rules and right that's not there. That's one of the issues that people are having with the settlement" ("NewsHour," PBS, 7/29).
SLOW & STEADY WINS THE RACE: In Chicago, David Haugh writes the proposed settlement "isn't perfect but represents progress, the latest positive sign from a more responsive NCAA in 2014." Coincidentally or not, since January, when former Northwestern QB Kain Colter "pushed for the unionization of college players, the rights of student-athletes gradually have expanded." A CAPA spokesperson "criticized Tuesday's announcement because it didn't result in any money paid to student-athletes, but such bottom-line mentalities ignore the strides that have been made recently" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 7/30).