Group Wants College Football Playoff Revenue to Fund Safety Research
With a four-team college football playoff having gained approval from the BCS presidential oversight committee this evening, a group of former and current Division I athletes is calling for some of the expected windfall to fund sports-related concussion research.
Conservative projections of annual revenue from the new playoff system have come around $400 million, which means even a small slice of the playoff pie could prove critical for funding youth-concussion research.
The National College Players Association, made up of more than 17,000 student-athletes, released its proposal for the Concussion Awareness and Reduction Emergency (CARE) Plan in advance of the BCS presidential oversight committee meeting today.
In it, the group calls for discussions about using part of the playoff revenue for sports-related concussion research during any meeting about the future of the college football playoff system.
"Our universities shouldn't add extra games without adding extra protections to minimize the head-trauma risks associated with contact sports," said NCPA President Ramogi Huma in a statement.
Huma's organization also calls for a freeze on the number of regular season games (a similar battle has been waged at the professional level in the past few years), and reductions on the amount of contact allowed during year-round football practices.
Specifically, the NCPA wants to see the NCAA limit teams to only four practices per week in pads throughout preseason football camps. From the start of the regular season through the end of the postseason, the organization calls for only one practice per week in full pads and half pads. In the spring-training sessions, the NCPA says teams should be limited to a total of eight padded practices.
In the NFL's collective bargaining agreement signed last summer, professional teams are limited to a total of 14 padded practices in the regular season, 11 of which must occur within the first 11 weeks of the season.
Pop Warner, the youth-football organization, also recently announced new limits to the type and amount of contact allowed in practices.
"Nobody has ever asked what the players think should be done," Huma said recently to the Birmingham News. "It's their health. We're talking about additional games for some of the best teams in the nation. That's additional risk."
Last fall, the NCPA issued a report suggesting that elite football and men's basketball players in college were worth more than $100,000 each to their schools.
Assuming the four-team college football playoff system gains approval, it bears watching where the vast amount of money generated by the playoffs ends up going.
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