Cedric Ogbuehi passed on the draft, Texas A&M bought his insurance

AP

Texas A&M offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi likely would have been a first-round pick if he had entered this year’s NFL draft. But he decided to stay in school in large part because of an insurance policy that protected him in the event of a career-ending injury.

That is not unusual. What is unusual is that it wasn’t Ogbuehi or his parents who paid for the policy. It was Texas A&M, and it was perfectly legal under NCAA rules.

Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports reports that A&M badly wanted Ogbuehi to return for his senior season instead of turn pro, and so the school did the same thing a school does when it wants a high school player to enroll: It engaged in a recruiting process designed to persuade Ogbuehi that another year in school would be good for him. That recruiting pitch became a lot easier when Texas A&M researched the details of the NCAA rules regarding the Student Assistance Fund, which gives schools discretion to spend money on things like a player needing an emergency trip home to visit a sick relative. What Texas A&M discovered is that it’s permissible to pay for a player’s insurance policy with Student Assistance Fund money.

In the case of Ogbuehi, that means A&M may spend about $60,000 on an insurance policy that could pay Ogbuehi millions if he suffers a career-ending injury this season. A&M associate AD for football Justin Moore told Feldman that when officials in the athletic department discovered that NCAA rules allowed them to pay for Ogbuehi’s insurance, they were thrilled.

“I don’t think many schools know about it,” Moore said. “It’s a game-changer.”

It’s a good deal for A&M’s football program and for Ogbuehi, but as with virtually every story about the NCAA, it also raises questions about the NCAA’s definition of amateurism. Why is it OK for a school to pay for a player’s $60,000 insurance policy in one case, but not OK for a school to pay for a few bucks worth of pasta in another case? And when many student-athletes are just trying to make ends meet, is it really the best use of Student Assistance Fund money to spend $60,000 on a player who could have, if he wanted to, left for the NFL and made millions?

The NCAA may need to address some of those questions in the future. But for this year, A&M is very happy to have a tackle on its offensive line who’s good enough to be in the NFL. And considering that an NFL team would have been paying him millions, A&M getting him back for the cost of a five-figure insurance policy is a bargain.

30 responses to “Cedric Ogbuehi passed on the draft, Texas A&M bought his insurance

  1. This is definitely a game changer. A lot of guys that are slightly raw will definitely return now, instead of coming out and getting picked in the 4th or 5th round because they need more fundamental work.

    And a lot of players will be pushing for schools to pay for this in exchange for staying. Hell…the players make the teams tons of money. No reason the teams cant spend some of it on the players.

  2. I’d be interested to see the wording of the policy. If it’s only payable based on a “Career Ending Injury” then I wouldn’t take it. Marcus Lattimore essentially severed his leg and dropped from a top 10 pick to a 4th round pick, losing millions in the process. Would he have been denied a payout in that case?

  3. So the players want paid, would this not fall under being compensated for being a football player?

  4. Of course the school can pay for it. If the player stays and plays well the school will make more money therefore the NCAA will make more money therefore it’s good for the NCAA so it’s legal.

    If the player stays and plays well but has no money for TP or decent clothing…not the NCAA’s problem…BK is always hiring.

  5. This will get very interesting. I picture all potential high school recruits asking about insurance from now on.

  6. This is a well known rule. However, most schools and players use the Exceptional Student-Athlete Disability Insurance Program.

  7. One last thing..I think the aforementioned program has a $5,000,000 limit and the player may have to pay back the premium in the future. Thus, this may be a new “loophole”.

  8. NCAA football is a business? who knew?? Maybe if the $60k were to be paid back (with nominal interest rates) it would sound slightly less ridiculous?

  9. This may become a loophole in which Universities can start compensating players.

    The NCAA needs to either close this loophole are put some very strict limitations on it. Rich schools like Texas will be able to afford larger insurance policies for more players than a smaller school like Baylor or Texas Tech.

    Good on A&M for finding the loophole and exploiting it… but the NCAA needs to act.

  10. I can see how this has a Pro Football slant, but I’m really surprised this story isn’t on CFT right now.

    This may have big implications for college football…

  11. No wonder Manziel was so successful in college. He had an NFL offensive line with NFL receivers playing against college players with an occassional NFL player. Crash. Burn. Bust just like all other Heisman Trophy QBs since the early 1990s.

  12. I’m not a fan of college players getting paid a salary but I am 100% in favor of some of these draconian rules (ie about meals)being changed. Also, I would allow them to sell anything they’ve been given (ie the Terelle Pryor mess). And the NCAA should never own the rights to someone’s image. That’s simply ludicrous. They either are an employer or they aren’t…they shouldn’t get employers’ rights and yet the players can’t do things like sell their own jerseys to get cash.

    The aspect I like most about this case is that it was a negotiation of sorts between the player and the school. That’s a lot more fair. If schools have to recruit the players they want just like employers do, why shouldn’t there be some form of terms/compensation they are allowed to use with which to negotiate?

  13. Yes that is a picture of him, he is 6-5 and 300 lbs, so he’s kinda like a jumbo shrimp but only in an analogical sense since it is potentially offensive to call somebody another animal type. Can you imagine if there was a franchise named the Shrimp? Outrage there would be!

    But also if this player doesn’t get injured then am I correct to assume there is no cash-value on this policy? Maybe a good deal in comparison to not having anything to do with the player, but is it prudent to spend so much money on something that has a low yield, why not put that money into something else that can work for better leverage and play the odds to have more overall money to work with for whatever you are trying to protect or invest into in the long-run? There are other creative ways to use insurance to net more in return or to lessen the premium outlay.

  14. This sounds like a lawyer is attempting to exploit a loophole. There is no way that fund was intended for this use. In the other cases the player is the only beneficiary. They could help a kid get home for a sick family member because the university/program could not tangibly benefit from it. There will most likely be a court challenge. I can’t believe that no other school tried this before since that fund was approved. Everybody else interpreted the same way. A&M is the anomaly

  15. It sounds like he is only covered if he sustains an injury in which it prevents him from ever playing football again. He is not covered if he suffers a major injury, such as a torn cal, in which he can rehab. He’s taking a big chance and the college is risking nothing.

  16. 1rockyracoon: I was thinking along those lines myself,if he gets injured or just plays poorly and his stock falls the policy basically is null-n-void.

  17. “Why is it OK for a school to pay for a player’s $60,000 insurance policy in one case, but not OK for a school to pay for a few bucks worth of pasta in another case?”

    Some things in life aren’t fair, like why most college players have to go to classes while UNC players don’t….

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