It’s that time of the year again! Yes, that’s right… it’s football season! Spending your evening under Friday night lights or your Saturday in the crisp autumn air watching your favorite team dominate is one of the best parts of fall. Football season is full of excitement, tailgating and intense rivalries, but it also brings about a sense of comradery and can unite us all. Because we treat football as the greatest American sport, many college athletes are treated with equal respect and praise. Although, there have been complaints associated with the idea that these student athletes receive preferential treatment, we are often surprised to hear when one is involved in a scandal. However, despite their tremendous popularity and sense of indomitability, these athletes are not invincible. With just one wrong move (figuratively or literally), these players’ collegiate football careers could be over in a snap:
Based on a 2014 survey*, the results of the consumption of alcohol and abuse of illegal drugs among college football players, such as marijuana, were quite surprising. It was reported that 76% of football players partake in the consumption of alcohol and 24% smoke marijuana. The NCAA has serious repercussions in the case of substance abuse. Marijuana is considered an illegal substance within the NCAA, so testing positive the first time will result in loss of half the season, and full calendar year of eligibility if the test is positive the second time. Regarding alcohol consumption, in 2016, J.T. Barrett, the quarterback for Ohio State, was arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence. As a result, he received one game suspension and his scholarship for summer school was revoked. Excessive alcohol intake can lead to injuries from poor judgement, a decrease in academic performance, fighting and arguments, all of which can jeopardize their student athlete career.
One of the biggest questions regarding college athletics is if whether or not student athletes should be paid. Some argue that yes, these students should be fairly compensated so that they are encouraged to stay in school and support their families while doing so. However, others are of the belief that these students are too young to handle a large sum of money and question if all players, regardless of talent, should receive the same amount of money. In the late 1980’s, Southern Methodist University was submerged into a disastrous football scandal. There were reports that SMU had been paying its football players. After these reports were proven accurate, the 1987 Death Penalty was levied upon this school. This scandal utterly destroyed its reputation for many years as it eliminated SMU’s entire 1987 season.
Football injuries these days is certainly a controversial topic. Such controversy really began after Will Smith’s stellar role in the 2015 film, Concussion, which pointed out the potential dangers of this game. Although this movie shed light into the perils of this most beloved sport, this wasn’t the first time that football was under a microscope for health reasons. In 2009, the Zackery Lystedt Law was enforced after Zackery, a 13-year-old boy, suffered a nearly fatal brain injury after an extremely violent football tackle. This law** states that young athletes suspected of enduring a concussion cannot and will not return to the game unless they have approval of a licensed healthcare provider. Even more unfortunate, the number of concussions doesn’t decrease as age increases. Concussions among football players can happen to anyone, at any age. Casey Cochran, the quarterback for University of Connecticut, sustained 13 concussions during his football career. However, after his 13th and final one, he came to the conclusion that his health preceded the game he loved. It was because of all of these hits to the head that he decided to end his football career.
Although these student athletes may appear untouchable to their loyal and die-hard fans, there are several ways by which their football careers could be easily destroyed, whether the cause was deliberate or not. If you ever find yourself in one of these situations and don’t know how to move forward, Bannister, Wyatt & Stalvey, LLC, is here to guide you through complex legal proceedings. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.