I’m watching tonight’s Arkanas-USC game on Fox Sports Net, and I am aware of two things:
But what I really want to talk about is Matt Leinart’s decision to play his Senior year at USC. Leinart won the Heisman Trophy last year, and had he declared for the NFL draft, he almost certainly would have been the number one pick of the San Francisco 49ers.
But he didn’t. I did a Google search for “matt leinart insurance,” and the first result was an article on Insurance NewsNet titled Premium Players; Insurance Policies Are Becoming Standard For Elite College Athletes.
I was going to summarize the article, but instead I’ll suggest that you read it. The one fact from the article that really surprised me was that insurance policies have becomes something of a norm for “elite draft-eligible college football players.” Something much less surprising but perhaps more intriguing is that such insurance policies have increased in number significantly since Willis McGahee’s horrendous knee injury in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl — unsurprising because it was the final game of an elite college player’s senior year — intriguing because McGahee has seen none of that money, after signing a healthy contract with the Buffalo Bills. (Go Bills.)
The article points out that because of advances in sports medicine over the past twenty or thirty years, these insurance policies may not be worth it, and McGahee is the perfect example. Carson Palmer’s father almost didn’t take out a policy on his son, but Carson asked him to do it.
The NCAA offers injury insurance to athletes likely to be drafted highly — it does so in order to give sports agents one less reason to whisper in the ear of college athletes. It’s called Exceptional Student-Athlete Disability Insurance — ESDI. While I was thinking over this post I planned on saying some sentence like, “What does all this money mean in relation to the question of whether or not college athletes should be paid?” The answer? I don’t know. Maybe the NCAA should guarantee $1 million to every single college student who plays one of the four major sports — if an athlete suffers a career-ending injury while playing in an NCAA-sanctioned event, the NCAA pays up. I don’t expect to see that any time soon, though.