There weren’t may places you could go yesterday where the topic of the hideous broken leg suffered by Louisville’s Kevin Ware on national TV Sunday wasn’t discussed. But will it lead to changes in how college players are compensated? I certainly hope so.
Rick Pitino spent all night at the bed side of Kevin Ware, who had arguably suffered one of the most gruesome injuries ever shown on National TV. Pitino was praised for his sensitivity in the wake of the incident, as was CBS Television, who mercifully made the decision to never show the replay of the compound fracture again as the player was carefully taken from the floor. But are those two parties going to put up or shut up when it comes time to help Kevin Ware’s family pay the bills?
In an article published today, the sticky details of who will pay for Kevin’s medical bills and long rehabilitation came up, and it was uglier than the injury if you can believe that.
As it turns out, Pitino could choose not to renew Ware’s scholarship to the University of Louisville if he so desires (I doubt that he will, because I do believe he is a stand up guy in this case, but he could).
CBS, meanwhile, who will bank millions of dollars from broadcasting the college tournament, can not legally help the family pay the medical bills, because that would be against NCAA rules.
Many institutions have come forward and paid the medical bills of injured athletes, and I’m pretty sure the Ware family will wind up getting covered by the University of Louisville. Mainly, because it’s such a high profile case. But what about all the lesser known athletes who suffer career ending injuries, and lose their scholarships and wind up paying for their own medical bills? Is that just the risk you take?
Before Ware was even taken from the floor Sunday, the discussion on Twitter turned to compensation for college athletes. And I hope that discussion once again comes to the forefront.
Here’s what I think athletes should get:
— The NCAA should give athletes a small stipend to cover incidental costs while competing (I held a job while in college to cover incidentals, many athletes cannot because of time commitments to their sport).
— The NCAA should cover athletes with full medical insurance if their families aren’t covered or can’t afford it.
— The NCAA should start accounts in which players can get a piece of the television payouts if they participate in big games like the BCS championships in football, and the March Madness basketball tournament. The money would not come to them until they graduate with a full degree.
See what I did there? I set up a system to encourage marginal players to stay in school, and talented ones could still leave early and cash in on their talents.
What do you think?
PS — I was stunned by the amount of people who posted photos of the gruesome injury on social media sites where unsuspecting people were exposed to it. I’m not mad at you for doing that, but I feel sorry for you. You clearly seek to do sensational things to draw attention to yourself, and that’s kind of pathetic.