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 FOXSports.com 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.