With Leonard Fournette and the NFL fast becoming the story du jour in 2015, a modicum of the focus has shifted to high-end players and insurance at their disposal to potentially protect their future earning power in case of a catastrophic injury. NCAA member schools have what’s called the Student Assistant Fund at their disposal, a device that can be utilized “to assist student-athletes in meeting financial needs that arise in conjunction with participation in intercollegiate athletics, enrollment in an academic curriculum or that recognize academic achievement.”
Over the past couple of years, as has been the case for Florida State’s Jameis Winston and Texas A&M’s Cedric Ogbuehi, schools have used that fund to pay the premiums on a loss-of-value insurance policy, which protects a player should he sustain an injury that causes him to drop more than one round from where he was projected by a panel of draft experts. If you recall from August of last year, former Oregon cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu is another player who had one of those policies paid for by his university — and, as it turns out, it was a very prescient move on the part of both parties.
Ekpre-Olomu sustained a very serious knee injury — ruptured ACL, dislocated patella — during practice in the run-up to Oregon’s playoff semifinal matchup with Florida State. Projected to be a first-round pick by some or, at worst, a second-round pick by others, Ekpre-Olomu instead tumbled all the way to the Cleveland Browns in the seventh round, costing himself potentially millions of dollars in his initial NFL contract. Plus, you know, he’s stuck with the Browns.
Speaking to Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com, however, Total Planning Sports Services’ Keith Lerner, the underwriter of Ekpre-Olomu’s policy, the player is no more than two months away from collecting on what was a $3 million policy. According to Lerner, Ekpre-Olomu would be the first to make a claim and collect on a loss-of-value policy.
The policy, taken out at some point prior to Ekpre-Olomu’s final season in Eugene, likely set Oregon, or its fund, back approximately $24,000 as Lerner explained to Dodd that premiums typically run $8,000 per $1 million of this type of insurance.