Clowney will try to buy insurance against a serious injury

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When we first touched on a story that has helped fill the short lull between the Super Bowl and the Underwear Olympics, I pointed out that South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney will undoubtedly purchase an insurance policy to protect him against a catastrophic injury during a college football season that will do nothing to improve his draft stock for 2014.

Alex Marvez of has taken a closer look at the issue, pointing out that Clowney is indeed attempting to purchase insurance.

Per Marvez, Clowney would be looking for $5 million in insurance.  That’s a lot of money, but there are serious flaws in this approach.

First, insurance companies are very good at taking money in.  When it comes to paying money out, the pipeline is typically clogged with red tape and exclusions and other stuff that all too often forces policyholders to sue in order to get the insurance companies to do the right thing.

Second, Clowney won’t be buying insurance against a Marcus Lattimore-type injury that simply would knock Clowney from the top of round one to the bottom of round seven.  These policies pay money only for career-ending injuries.  So Clowney gets nothing unless he simply cannot play football.

Third, $5 million covers only a small fraction of what he’d lose over the balance of an NFL career.  Last year, the first pick in the draft (Andrew Luck) signed a four-year, $22.1 million contract, fully guaranteed.  And if Luck becomes what the team thinks he will, Luck will eventually get a contract worth $100 million.  In comparison, $5 million for a truly career-ending injury during a meaningless college season constitutes a small bag of pressed peanut sweepings.

Third, who’ll pay the premium?  Marvez’s article doesn’t mention what it will cost, but it won’t be cheap — given that Clowney plays full-contact football.  And unless Clowney’s family has the resources to pay what could be a six-figure premium, the insurance can’t be purchased absent the violation of one or more NCAA regulations.

Darin Gantt made an intriguing suggestion as we were going through the Chip ‘n’ Dale routine as to which of us would handle this specific story; perhaps Clowney’s best move would be not to quit college football, but to take an academic dive, becoming ineligible to play due to bad grades.  That way, it wouldn’t look like he’s deliberately walking away from the game for a year.

It would be harder to pull that off, now that the issue has been flagged and debated and dissected.  Still, for future players in Clowney’s position, the ultimate question could whether the player is smart enough to play dumb.

54 responses to “Clowney will try to buy insurance against a serious injury

  1. He’s gambling with his future. The coach makes millions … the school makes tens of millions. It’s all about the money … but somehow they convinced this poor soul to work for free for another year. Very sad.

  2. I agree so much with the concept of him sitting out the season because I think the NCAA is a slave-labor organization with regards to football and basketball. The NFL should be ashamed of themselves for partnering with the NCAA in this scam. The NFL has a duty to create a minor league system to handle players coming out of high school, the way baseball does it, so that these players can make a few bucks and not waste time in classrooms getting D’s for classes they never attend or want to attend in the first place. Did anybody see Julius Pepper’s transcript??? To say “he got an education” while he was risking his career to butter the bread of the BILLION DOLLAR corporation that is the NCAA is ludicrous!!!

    I for one will be hoping Clowney doesn’t play a single snap in 2013 for Spurrier and the dirtbag NCAA. Maybe if this kind of thing happens more frequently, the NFL will get the hint and create a way for players who don’t want to risk injury to get paid while waiting to get their 3 years in.

  3. Don’t worry I am sure he is getting paid plenty from SC. It’s the SEC so SC won’t get tagged because the NCAA wouldn’t go after their beloved conference

  4. “Third, who’ll pay the premium? ”

    It’s my understanding that the insurance company adjusts the premium up and doesn’t get paid until the athlete signs their contract. Acting essentially like a loan. In return the company gets a much higher premium for taking that added risk.

  5. Clowney, as a business major myself, don’t buy the insurance. The odds of you getting hurt to the point it ends your career are so extremely low. Keep your money man.

  6. just play your game dominate like usual and don’t focus on getting hurt. when you play to not get hurt you usually end up getting hurt.

    plus you will have a degree from SC in….hahahahahaha

  7. Could he take out a loan to pay for the insurance policy? Would probably be charged a high interest rate but might be worth it as long as the total doesn’t approach $5 million.

  8. I will say this, it’s disgraceful when a coach can be guaranteed pay despite losing, but these routes have to be taken by those who make the coach’s reputation.

  9. You want insurance Clowney? Get your degree and actually learn a useful skill while in college. There is no guarantee the NFL will be there for any college athlete, focus on making sure you offer something that can generate income other than your athletic gifts.

  10. I would sign some deal with an Pro-NFL strength & conditioning geared gym…like 1% of future earnings for free technique work, weight room/ instructor access. Or just go hang out with Jay Glazer for year.

  11. For everyone that’s killing him for playing, thunk about if he wasn’t. If he sat out thus year we would all destroy him with jamarcus comparison and saying he’s only in it for the money, he let his teammates and coaching staff down, blah blah blah. Obviously he loves the game and competion so there shouldn’t be anyone questiong his desicion.

  12. What’s disgusting is that all the people involved consider 5Mil a ” small bag of pressed peanut sweepings”. Most educated, intelligent people won’t make that in a lifetime but these morons consider it peanuts. Little wonder that the fools end up broke 3 years after leaving the league.

  13. “It’s my understanding that the insurance company adjusts the premium up and doesn’t get paid until the athlete signs their contract. Acting essentially like a loan. In return the company gets a much higher premium for taking that added risk.”

    Wouldn’t a loan against potential future earnings be considered an impermissible benefit? If not, what is to stop a company/individual within a company from having said company make a “loan” of car or house to entice a player to come to that school?

  14. Why would a kid want to make himself look dumb with poor grades and put his graduation in jeopardy to skip a season? He just wouldn’t play.

  15. These young men provide a service worth millions in exchange for a “college education”.
    It’s the NCAA and the schools that should be paying for career insurance for these guys.

  16. Telling the guy to do poorly in school on purpose!!?? With the short careers of football players these days, he will surely need his college education. Shame on you guys for even writing that.

  17. “Darin Gantt made an intriguing suggestion as we were going through the Chip ‘n’ Dale routine as to which of us would handle this specific story; perhaps Clowney’s best move would be not to quit college football, but to take an academic dive, becoming ineligible to play due to bad grades. That way, it wouldn’t look like he’s deliberately walking away from the game for a year.”

    This is quite possibly the most ridiculous thing I have ever read on this site. That had to have been a joke. You think the kid would look better by failing his classes? Wouldn’t teams then start calling him out for character issues. There are plenty of college players every year who continue to play even when they are NFL ready, so why is Clowney getting crucified for playing? He’s doing what EVERY college football player does. Sure, there’s a chance he gets injured, by I think it’s worth the risk considering he’s only a year away from being a multimillionaire. The best way for him to stay NFL ready and in football shape is to do what he does best: continue playing football. The decision has already been made, let’s stop criticizing him and start wishing him the best next season.

  18. Easy solution. He should put the offer out there that he will pay $1M upon the signing of his first contract that pays a minimum of $20M (first rd. money) on the condition that any insurance company gives him $15M in coverage right now which pays him $14M (deducting the $1M premium) immediately for any injury related reason that pushes him out of first rd. money.

    This way….no money changes hands until the draft. If he’s drafted in the top 5, he will gladly part with $1M of $25M or so for the coverage he got while playing for S.C. If he tears up a knee and is drafted in the 4th rd. on a flyer, the ins. co. pays him $14M.

    Each party shares the risk equally. If he makes it through unscathed, the ins. co. just pocketed a cool mil. Of course, these numbers are flexible depending upon the level of risk an ins. co. is willing to accept. If JC’s outlay is $5M for the policy, I’d still have to think it’s worth it.

  19. I’m sure Clowney saw what just happened to Nerlens Noel playing basketball.

    I hate to say it, but it’s time to make your priority the 2104 draft. Pay for your own year of college, hire an NFL level personal trainer and get yourself the best agent you can.

  20. Leave the kid alone. He obviously enjoys playing as a team player, otherwise he wouldn’t have said he’s coming back. Being there for his teammates to try and bring home a championship is more important to him than money. Yes, he is taking a risk, but look at all of the players that choose to stay their Senior year instead of coming out their Junior year. Doing so even though they would be considered First round picks coming out early. You only get to play College ball and be a kid for so long. If he was to get hurt bad enough to be forced out of Football, then It was meant to happen. The odds of receiving a career ending injury are pretty darn low. Keep fresh and sharp, play one more year. The NFL will be there waiting for you. Good luck kid!

  21. The Jags are going to have a tough decsion with the first pick in the ’14 draft: Clowney or QB.

  22. If the cost is that high, the insurance that bad, the risks are that high, and the kid is that good, why not just not play for a season?

    I know he probably wants to play football, but if the NFL just has an age restriction, instead of risking it all with a chump-change safety net, just don’t play for a year. Any NFL team going to say “nah, we don’t want him because he hasn’t played for a season”? Doubt it. If I were his agent, I’d at least pitch the idea. It’s extreme but so is the circumstance.

  23. $5 million or nothing..hmm, not hard to decide which is better.

    As for the premium, if he gets hurt they take the premium out of the $5mil, if he doesn’t get hurt they take the premium when he signs his NFL deal. It’s basically a loan. College stars do this ALL THE TIME and the insurance company very rarely has to pay anything at all.

  24. Pull-lease. Look, like it or not, Clowney can’t enter the NFL until 2014. He can absolutely hurt his stock by not playing in 2013; talk to Mike Williams about that.

    Football players get injured. It happens, and there isn’t a thing anyone can do about it other than not play. Clowney is too good not to come back from any injury he may suffer and still be a major force on any NFL defense.

    So Mr. Clowney, quit worrying about the NFL, go back to USC and concentrate on helping your team win the SEC.

  25. Just to clarify for some of the commentors who don’t seem to get it. The NCAA is terrible and has stupid rules, but the eligibility rule is an NFL rule, so stop bashing USC/the NCAA for keeping him from making millions.
    Second, the rule is a great rule. This site just recently posted a listing of all the underclassmen that are going to the NFL. The list is about 80 players deep, and on avg, 20-30 of those players don’t even get drafted. Can you imagine the amount of players desperate enough to make money who would leave too early, not get drafted, not get on a team, and have one less year of college education to fall back on?

  26. On one side of the coin, you got guys bashing hoops players for leaving early for the NBA in the name of education and post basketball career success. On the other side of the coin you’ve got guys getting paid to write stories telling kids to flunk classes on purpose. People never cease to amaze me.

  27. Darin Gantt made an intriguing suggestion as we were going through the Chip ‘n’ Dale routine as to which of us would handle this specific story; perhaps Clowney’s best move would be not to quit college football, but to take an academic dive, becoming ineligible to play due to bad grades. That way, it wouldn’t look like he’s deliberately walking away from the game for a year.

    That;s disgusting. Why not be a man, play the game you love and be like everyone else. Life has no guarantees. I hope he has more integrity than that and I think he does. Darin Gantt is the one without integrity.

  28. What happened to my comments about the degree and players getting paid? You guys don’t want someone to point that out? Don’t like the truth? It’s true!

    SC, agents, or a booster will help Clowney pay for his insurance, he got paid to go there, and he still gets paid. He’s also an idiot not to get his degree because anything could happen to his football future and needs a degree that SC is giving to him FREE so he has an education to fall back on. It’s not like free food, education, free housing, and pocket change along with the fame and opportunity to play football are him being treated like a slave. He’s treated like a king and you guys suggesting he isn’t are just blind to the SEC. Southeastern Cheaters Conference.

  29. The NFL wants him to play. The NCAA wants him to play. The fans want him to play. And if he suffers a catastrophic injury that ends his NFL career before it starts? Everyone turns around and looks away. And starts talking about the Next Big Thing.

    Dude should take the year off. He’ll be drafted in the first round, guaranteed. Teams will publicly bitch about him not playing, and then they’ll trade up to take him.

  30. So in that same vain every draft eligible player especially more specifiavally the top players should sit out a season if they are ineligible to get drafted? Sounds dumb to me.

  31. He won’t have any problem finding an insurance policy. Lloyd’s of London is where people go to find policies like the one he will be purchasing. LoL is like a giant insurance flea market where people w/ large sums of money (think Mortimer and Randolph Duke – yes, of Trading Places fame) take risks. His policy can and will be worded to fit his intended purchase but I guess a story with facts and research just wouldn’t drum up the site hits speculation does.

  32. id love to take the risk on that insurance policy

    hes guaranteed to go round 1, even with a torn ACL, achillies, etc.. he would be a late round 1 steal

    it would be easy money, give me a call jadaveon ill give you 15 million if you don’t go round 1 next year for anything injury related

  33. Yeah with Wonderlic scores of 3 I don’t think it is possible for an SEC star to be academically ineligible. South Carolina would find a way to make him pass even if he doesn’t show up for class.

  34. Why couldn’t he sue the NFL?

    Seek an injunction that would make him eligible to be drafted, and let a team take a chance on drafting him. If he’s got to sit a year, he sits a year and works out, and the team can adjust the contract accordingly, while retaining his rights.

    But I’m guessing if Clowney sues them, he’s going to win. Can’t keep a man from a job because of an arbitrary eligibility rule is set up to placate another business (the NCAA).

    I’m no lawyer, but I believe they call that collusion.

  35. Is there a way the league could create a rule where College players can leave a year earlier, but their Salary Cap hit would be higher. Which would deter teams from drafting them, and deter players from leaving due to the subsequent drop in their draft rank, but at the same time make it completely legal for them to enter the Draft if they wanted to?

  36. Well, since his family isn’t paying for his college education, there has to be some extra money lying around to pay the premium, right?

  37. Well, what if he does take the year off and gets hurt lifting weights or performing training excercises? There’s no guarantee for anything. He he wants to play then let him.

  38. I was listening to Tim Hasselbacke and Teddy Bruschi debate what Jadeveon Clowney should do if they were in his shoes.

    Bruschi being Bruschi, he said no question he should and will play college football. It’s about pride not the money, he shouldn’t be thinking about a payday and so forth.

    Hasselbacke agreed but then veered off and said this is a poor business decision if you ask me. If he gets hurt, he’s missing out on a lot of money.

    I share the same view as Hasseback. How can you blame Clowney if he decides to sit out? One bad hit, or low block and his career could be tarnished and he’d miss out on being a very rich man.

    I get it, he’s a college player and his priority should be school and football. But, everyone else is making money off of his talent except for himself. I wouldn’t blame Clowney if he sits out, it’s his body and his decision.

    If someone came to me and said, ‘Son, if you skip your senior year of College to come work for us at USA Today or ESPN, and we’ll pay you a six-figure salary,’ you know what I would say?

    I’ll pack my bags and be on the next flight out of here. Lets not forget that as much as it’s great to hear how players love the game, it’s all about getting paid for what you do!

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