Insurance Policies for “Amateur” Athletes

Last month many news outlets released stories regarding universities purchasing insurance policies for their star athletes. These insurance policies protect players in the event they suffer an injury causing them to be unable to play the sport or in certain cases if they slide in the draft due to injury.

This story blew up when the press revealed that Texas A&M paid more than $50,000 for an insurance policy to protect their star offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi. Ogbuehi would have been a first round selection in the 2014 draft but chose to stay in school, presumably, at least in part, because of Texas A&M’s agreement to pay for the insurance policy.

Texas A&M was able to do this using money from the NCAA’s Student Assistance Fund (it also is now being reported that Florida State using this fund to insure Jameis Winston).

I found this on the NCAA’s website explaining the guidelines for the fund. The guidelines, from last year, indicate that over 73 million dollars will be sent to Division I conference offices. The money is “intended to provide direct benefits to student-athletes or their families as determined by conference offices.” It makes you wonder why this money can’t be used to feed hungry student-athletes?

The NCAA, not known for making consistent decisions, is apparently fine with allowing schools to use this money to basically pay a player to stay in school for another year, but frowns upon players for eating too much pasta at a banquet.

The NCAA has been walking a fine line between amateur and professional athletics for decades. Personally, I am strongly opposed paying college athletes and believe that the stipend will be the end of college athletics as we know it. Once the genie is out of the bottle it will never return. The few thousand dollars people propose to pay athletes now will never be enough and the demands for more money will never go away.