Ben Martin

NCAA facing another concussion suit


On the heels of the NFL settling a class-action lawsuit with over 4,500 former pro players for hundreds of millions of dollars, the governing body of collegiate athletic is facing its own concussion-related lawsuit.  Again.

Former Tennessee Vols Chris Walker and Ben Martin (pictured), along with former North Carolina State player Chris Ahern, filed a class-action lawsuit against the NCAA Wednesday in a Chattanooga, Tenn., federal court.  The lawsuit claims, Jon Solomon of reports, that “the NCAA failed to educate football players of the long term, life-altering risks of head impacts, and did not establish known protocols to prevent, mitigate, monitor, diagnose and treat brain injuries.”

That negligence, the plaintiffs claim, led to players “[experiencing] increased risks of developing neurodegenerative disorders and diseases.”

And what are the players seeking in the suit?  Money from the NCAA that would be used to fund concussion research.

The plaintiffs are seeking a court-supervised, NCAA-funded medical monitoring program for the lifelong risks of brain injury. “Plaintiffs and the members of the Class have no adequate remedy at law in that monetary damages alone cannot compensate them for the increased risks of long-term physical and economic losses associated with brain injury,” the complaint states.

There are a staggering total of nine law firms involved in this suit, including one that employs Michael Hausfeld.  As you may know, Hausfield is the lead attorney in the O’Bannon lawsuit making its way through the legal system and which is seeking damages over the use of the likenesses of former college players in video games.

Also currently in the legal system is a similar concussion suit, filed by Eastern Illinois football player Adrian Arrington in 2011 in Illinois, seeking damages for head injuries he suffered in his career.  It’s been previously reported that the NCAA is seeking to settle that suit before it can be certified with class-action status.

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.

Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.

“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”

Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.

Unitas Award whittles watch list in half down to 15

FORT WORTH, TX - OCTOBER 03:  Trevone Boykin #2 of the TCU Horned Frogs looks for an open receiver against the Texas Longhorns in the second quarter at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 3, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Getty Images
1 Comment

You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season?  Watch lists are being whittled.

The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior.  The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.

The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).

The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten.  The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).

Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.

Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah