Expert Weighs in on NCAA Providing Schools Post-Eligibility Injury Insurance Option for Student-Athletes

Sep 8, 2023

Coverage is for two years after athletes complete their experience and begins August 1, 2024.

The NCAA Board of Governors (“the Board”) announced this summer that it will offer member schools post-eligibility injury insurance coverage for student-athletes, beginning Aug. 1, 2024. The coverage will be effective for two years after student-athletes complete their college athletics experience and will cover injuries that occurred while playing for their school. The post-eligibility injury insurance program will be available to all student-athletes at all member schools in Divisions I, II and III. In the coming months, the national office will provide members with educational/informational materials and updates on program implementation.

Richard Giller, who serves as head of the Insurance Recovery and Counseling practice group at Greenspoon Marder LLP and a recognized expert in the field, noted that the announcement was short of “details.”

“Clearly, there are a lot of details that still need to be worked out,” he said.

“Two years is not much, especially when it comes to concussion symptoms. The symptoms may not even appear for a couple of years. Somebody could have headaches, or trouble with lights. In such cases, shouldn’t those issues be insured until they are resolved, or until at some point more than two years.

“The NCAA talks a lot about concussion protocols, and making sure that the institutions follow them. But there’s really nothing about post-eligibility concussion issues. It’s years after their eligibility, that the CTE may settle in, and they need to help.

“But it’s better than the alternative,” Giller added.

“Student-athletes deserve the coverage offered in this plan, no matter their division,” said NCAA President Charlie Baker. “Thanks to the many voices who have supported this idea since the Division I Transformation Committee formalized it in their final recommendations earlier this year. It’s another occasion where the NCAA can show its unwavering commitment to and support for student-athletes.”

The Board acted in response to recommendations from the Division I Transformation Committee outlining a “holistic student-athlete benefits model” that guarantees college athletes will have increased access to medical coverage for athletically related injuries for a minimum of two years after graduation or completion of their athletics experience. The Division I Board of Directors adopted several facets of the “holistic model” earlier this year, including requiring its member schools to provide the medical coverage outlined above. 

The policy’s annual premium is projected to be $26 million. It will have a $90,000 excess limit per injury, with no deductible. There will also be limited coverage for mental health care related to the documented injury. The policy is secondary to other insurance policies. 

Giller noted that the interesting thing about the health benefits is that it is tied to athletic related injuries, “which I’m not sure what that means. Does it mean it had to be suffered in practice, or on the field in a game? The devil’s always in the details. But overall, it is great for student athletes, especially those that don’t go pro. It’s something.”

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