Norco, CA -- The National College Players Association (NCPA), formerly named the Collegiate Athletes Coalition (CAC), posted the results of a Medical Policy Disclosure Campaign it initiated earlier this year on its website: www.ncpanow.org. The NCPA launched the campaign to provide recruits, current college athletes, and parents a better understanding of what medical protections are in place at each Division I university.
Each year, college athletes endure injuries and surgeries due to their participation in athletics. However, many recruits and college athletes of all sports have no way of knowing whether or not a university will pay for his/her sports-related injuries. Despite the customary verbal promise made by universities to recruits (that all of their sports-related medical expenses will be paid for), college athletes are not guaranteed medical coverage for their injuries. NCAA rules do not mandate that athletic programs provide medical coverage for sports-related injuries. Therefore, athletic programs have the option of whether or not to pay for an athlete’s medical expenses resulting from sports-related injuries. In addition, NCAA schools can have very different medical policies.
The NCPA sent every Division I athletic program a Medical Policy Disclosure Form to solicit important medical policy information that can have a significant impact on the health and finances of college athletes. The NCPA designed a grading system that rates each athletic program’s medical policies. Any program that failed to complete the form has been classified as “Refused to Respond” and has been issued an “F” (failing) grade.
“Most of the athletic programs that did respond received very good grades. These athletic administrators should be given credit for disclosing important policies, and for their willingness to be held accountable for what they are advertising to recruits,” NCPA President Ramogi Huma stated.
*Universities that received an A- grade or better are listed at the bottom of this release.
Prior to launching the Disclosure Campaign, the NCPA sent a letter to NCAA President Myles Brand requesting that he endorse this disclosure effort to help encourage athletic programs to respond. Mr. Brand chose to ignore the NCPA’s request.
“I believe Mr. Brand has a moral and professional responsibility to recruits and college athletes to help them understand their medical benefits or lack thereof at all NCAA athletic programs,” Huma stated.
One of the clear results of the Disclosure Campaign is that the NCAA and most Division I athletic programs do not want recruits and current college athletes to know key medical policies or to be held accountable for promises to athletes concerning medical coverage. About 90% of all Division I athletic programs refused to disclose the medical policies requested by the NCPA. However, the NCPA believes that it has taken a major step to bring forth an era of disclosure and athlete awareness.
“The results of this campaign have demonstrated that the lack of disclosure is not simply an oversight, it is a calculated decision to take advantage of injured athletes,” stated NCPA Vice President Ryan Roques.
Huma stated, “The universities ultimately craft NCAA rules, and the rules concerning health coverage have been designed to allow universities to purposefully mislead recruits without any accountability. It seems as though the majority of universities are looking to maintain this unjust leverage over their athletes.”
“Recruits and their parents should consider very seriously why a school would refuse to disclose and be held accountable for some of its most important medical policies,” Roques stated.
The NCPA has launched its first video (view at www.ncpanow.org) to be used as a tool to help addresses the need for disclosure. The video features Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward, LA Clippers guard Baron Davis, sports economist Andrew Zimbalist, and former sneaker executive and basketball camp guru Sonny Vaccaro among others. Also included is John Clark, former Ohio University football player, who tells about how he was left to pay for bills related to a knee he sustained while on full scholarship. While trying to purchase a car several months ago, Clark was told that he had bad credit. He learned that his credit was ruined because Ohio University never paid for his medical expenses.
The NCPA is announcing the results of its Disclosure Campaign to more than 6000 NCPA members that play Division I football and basketball at schools nationwide. The NCPA will also streamline the results of this disclosure effort to recruits, other college athletes, and media organizations.
“It is unbelievable that players put their bodies on the line all year long, and have no idea whether or not their athletic program will pay for all of their sports-related injuries,” Huma Stated.
The NCPA’s Disclosure Campaign has called has yielded several important additional findings:
1. Medical policies that a number of universities have posted on their web sites do not address key medical issues i.e. how long a university will cover sports-related medical expenses for student-athletes that have exhausted their eligibility.
2. There is evidence that universities may be retroactively changing their medical policies to avoid paying for sports-related injuries.
3. Despite the blurred lined between mandatory and voluntary workouts, a number of universities refuse to pay for sports-related medical expenses that take place during university-facilitated “voluntary” workouts. It is widely known that players are routinely pressured to attend such voluntary workouts.
4. The NCAA and many of its universities are resistant to participating in a system for which recruits can readily compare medical policies of various universities.
5. There is some evidence that suggests that some athletic administrators were reluctant to participate because their program’s medical policies would have received a poor grade.
6. Universities with relatively small athletic budgets are able to provide their student-athletes with A+ medical benefits.
Over the years, the NCPA has established itself as the voice for college athletes, and has helped bring forth important reforms including:
More information about the NCPA is available from their website: www.ncpanow.org