A simple matter of justice
The NCAA has distinguished itself in recent years by ignoring obvious rules infractions by some institutions, draconian sanctions against Penn State, botched investigations, arbitrary enforcement of arcane rules and insisting that players are amateurs while licensing their likenesses and otherwise exploiting them for profit.
So it's news when the organization recognizes its responsibility to collegiate athletes -- even when it has to be sued to do so.
The NCAA has settled a class-action lawsuit that was filed in 2011 by former athletes who are concerned about whether they might suffer future medical problems from concussions they suffered while playing.
Under the agreement, the NCAA will not pay any damages to any former players. Instead, it will establish a $70 million fund to pay for medical testing of thousands of athletes. If that testing determines that an athlete suffered long-term damage as the result of playing, that information can be used by the player to seek compensation from the NCAA and the athlete's alma mater.
The deal also will establish a system of testing for current athletes to establish a base line for comparison with future test results, and requires tracking and reporting of concussions. It requires that medical personnel who are trained in concussion diagnosis and treatment attend all games and practices for all NCAA contact sports - as football, lacrosse, wrestling, ice hockey, field hockey, soccer and basketball. And it establishes as an NCAA rule that no player may return to competition on the same day he suffers a concussion.
These measures are common sense steps and a simple matter of justice for athletes. The NCAA should examine other means to ensure the future health of athletes without waiting for congressional criticism or class-action lawsuits.