Some start pushing for college football players to sign a waiver

Getty Images

Those with a vested financial interest in college football being played this season are gradually but inevitably revealing themselves.

Some are rallying around the fact that players want to play as the basis for insisting that the season should proceed (as if the players should be the ones making the important decisions involving the propriety of proceeding in a pandemic). Others have pushed the notion that players will be safer playing football than otherwise running around their hometowns, breathing in as many coronavirus molecules as possible. Now there’s this, the most insidious and reckless of the arguments being advanced: Players should sign a liability waiver.

Danny Kannell of CBS Sports has pushed that issue. So has Booger McFarland of ESPN; however, it’s hard to tell whether Booger is raising it as a real option or simply as a “put up or shut up” move for the players clamoring to play.

Regardless, waivers shouldn’t be an option. Last week, the NCAA said they aren’t. As noted by Stewart Mandel of TheAthletic.com, two Senators have dubbed college football liability waivers “morally repugnant.”

As Dan Patrick noted during a Tuesday appearance on Today, liability is the main concern for college football. As it should be. As explained during Monday’s PFTOT, there’s a looming explosion of COVID-19 litigation that eventually could result in a standard that hinges less on proof of where the virus was caught and more on simply showing that a business or organization with significant resources created a mechanism for bringing people together without implementing appropriate safety measures. With the determination of appropriate safety measures something that will be determined by a judge and/or a jury after the fact, the risk of landing in the legal crosshairs will be significant, especially for any programs that aren’t as buttoned up as they should be.

In the end, the losses from one season of lost football could pale in comparison to the losses from years of dealing with COVID-19 cases in court.

Sign the waivers, and then the concerns go out the window. Testing? Testing schmesting. The schools would have a golden ticket that would insulate them from any financial consequences for the failure to exercise reasonable prudence in protecting players, coaches, and staff from catching the virus or passing it to family members.

They shouldn’t have that easy out. No business or organization in this current climate should. Once liability is waived, critical guardrails that force major institutions to prioritize safety disappear — allowing business decisions to be made without regard to whether individuals are being appropriately protected.

43 responses to “Some start pushing for college football players to sign a waiver

  1. A waiver of some sorts needs to be signed for all sports…peewee, high-school, college, pro contracts, soccer, baseball, wrestling, etc.

    If you don’t want to play, simply don’t sign your waiver or your child’s waiver.

  2. NCAA should be very afraid of this waivers idea. Because the long-term consequence would be college players with legal representation. And it wouldn’t take long for them to go after a fair share of the profits they create with their labor. And to anyone who says their scholarships are a fair share, then how is Jim Harbaugh getting paid $8million a year?

  3. This argument seems questionable. My understanding is that no liability waiver protects an organization from negligence. If this is correct, then colleges still have a clear incentive to exercise reasonable prudence.

  4. Everyone can breathe easier now. The Russians have a vaccine. Thank God.
    I got my Aeroflot ticket already, comrades.

  5. Found it amusing the “kids want to play line”. I’m not one who believes college athletes should be paid, but the ah shucks line of let the kids play is pretty pathetic coming from coaches who are normally the highest paid civil servant in the state.

    College football is a major part of the college experience and Covid should be making these college presidents worry about more than just gameday. Virtual classes, social distancing make it difficult for any kid to justify paying big money to go to school when they can get the same experience and paper at Phoenix on-line for a fraction of the cost.

  6. So… first you don’t pay the players, and now you don’t want any liability?

    All the while colleges make a ton of money and pay the coaches millions…?

    College Football is a cesspool of exploitation.

  7. Cop out for university leaders to avoid making a difficult, but wise, decision to cancel fall sports. We have ourselves to blame. I have no interest in a 19-21 year old college athlete risking pulmonary or cardiac damage for my entertainment. A number of high paid coaches are clearly putting extreme pressure on these young men.

    Run a 6-8 game spring season if conditions improve in March-May. Return fully next September after we get smarter and vaccinated.

  8. This is just utter foolishness now. Just come out and say there will be NO college football this fall.

    Out here in Chapel Hill, NC the town folks don’t want the students to even be on campus!

  9. There are so many people speaking for the players and/or parents as if they would love to control the situation so as to fit their own narrative or belief. Here is one parent of an incoming freshman FB player that would absolutely sign a waiver. My son would have already beaten me to the table to sign that waiver. For once, all the haters should shut the —- up and let those involved come to their own conclusions.

    Australia is playing Rugby WITH fans in the stands.

  10. hardheadedrb says:
    August 11, 2020 at 12:14 pm
    There are so many people speaking for the players and/or parents as if they would love to control the situation so as to fit their own narrative or belief. Here is one parent of an incoming freshman FB player that would absolutely sign a waiver. My son would have already beaten me to the table to sign that waiver. For once, all the haters should shut the —- up and let those involved come to their own conclusions.

    Australia is playing Rugby WITH fans in the stands.
    …………………….

    Sorry mate, you’re extremely out of touch with what’s going on in the US.
    COVID deaths:
    Australia: 331
    USA: 163,000+

  11. Sign the waiver and let them play! Same for concussions, just have a stack of them in the blue tent ready to go. Add in another one for heat stroke so coaches can go back to 2 a days in full pads without water breaks so we can turn the players into “real men” what could go wrong

  12. The rumor is that the Sec and Acc are working to unite to form a super league and invite anyone who’s league isn’t ready. It may not be as good as a regular year, and we may not get an official National Champion, but we could get some awesome bowl games.

  13. hardheadedrb says:
    August 11, 2020 at 12:14 pm
    There are so many people speaking for the players and/or parents as if they would love to control the situation so as to fit their own narrative or belief. Here is one parent of an incoming freshman FB player that would absolutely sign a waiver. My son would have already beaten me to the table to sign that waiver. For once, all the haters should shut the —- up and let those involved come to their own conclusions.

    Australia is playing Rugby WITH fans in the stands.

    I think it is you and your ilk trying to control narratives. I think for the rest of us who have compassion and empathy, who understand long-term versus short term, and who do not think this is under control or just going away it is about having the intelligence and the judgment to make good decisions. The only haters out there are you and your kind who seem to think anyone with a difference of opinion is inherently bad.

    Oh and Australia? Lower infection and mortality rates than the US because they believe in science, have compassion and empathy, and can understand the long play. That is why they can do things differently.

  14. hardheadedrb says:
    August 11, 2020 at 12:14 pm
    There are so many people speaking for the players and/or parents as if they would love to control the situation so as to fit their own narrative or belief. Here is one parent of an incoming freshman FB player that would absolutely sign a waiver. My son would have already beaten me to the table to sign that waiver. For once, all the haters should shut the —- up and let those involved come to their own conclusions.

    Australia is playing Rugby WITH fans in the stands.

    ————————
    This isn’t Australia. We are being run by an idiot.

    As per your son. STOP living through him. Kind of obvious.

    I lost a career in baseball due to an illness. Lost 50lbs and was still added to the College World Series roster but I looked concentration camp-ish. I could still pitch, albeit only 84-85. Took 2 years to get the weight back but I pitched through all that. Still got drafted but the damage was done. Over compensating for the loss of weight, ruined my arm.

    So go ahead and send your kid off to college. I had Covid and 4 months later my brain is still in neutral. I have NO motivation. Same with one of my kids. My wife has to go see a Cardiologist. SO SEND HIM OFF. Because 1 year should NEVER make someone but one year can EASILY break someone.

  15. hardheadedrb says:
    August 11, 2020 at 12:14 pm
    There are so many people speaking for the players and/or parents as if they would love to control the situation so as to fit their own narrative or belief. Here is one parent of an incoming freshman FB player that would absolutely sign a waiver. My son would have already beaten me to the table to sign that waiver. For once, all the haters should shut the —- up and let those involved come to their own conclusions.

    Australia is playing Rugby WITH fans in the stands.

    ———————–

    That’s New Zealand, and they’ve pretty much eradicated the virus there. Here…not so much.

    So, you’re OK if your son goes off, contracts the virus playing football and they comes down with some major heart/lung issues. COngrats on being parent of the year!

  16. “Australia is playing Rugby WITH fans in the stands.”

    Covid cases in Australia: 21,713. Dead: 331
    Covid cases in US: 5,100,000. Dead: 163,000

    I hope you can see why Australia is able to have nice things and we are not. Melbourne, one of their largest cities, had a one day increase of 670 new cases and initiated one of the strictest lockdowns possible for a major metropolitan area. Florida routinely gets 7,000 new cases a day, and they want to reopen more things. So, there is your difference. One country accepts what’s happening and tries to stop it before it gets out of control, the other lets it get out of control and tries to convince itself nothing is wrong.

  17. The argument that players would actually be more safe playing football because they would act with more caution if held accountable to a team is so ridiculous. It is acknowledging that the responsible thing to do is NOT go to gatherings with large groups of people. If the only thing keeping you from being irresponsible is football, you need to grow up. Ending a pandemic and protecting at-risk people should be everyone’s reason for being responsible at the current moment.

  18. “Australia is playing Rugby WITH fans in the stands.”

    Australia did the right things and has good leadership. Their COVID death rate is 13 deaths per million. The US is over 500 deaths per million. 39 times worse.

    That’s why Australia can open up to sports and the US can’t.

  19. So let me get this straight…the kid signs the liability waiver, contracts COVID-19, dies and the NCAA says “sorry, you signed it. no contributory negligence on our side. we had no moral or legal responsibility to purport a safe environment. It’s America.” WTF!

  20. Crazy this is what passes for “clear thinking” in the world of college football. This would set them up to endless lawsuits both from people who didn’t sign the waiver and also from those who did claiming they didn’t hold up their end of the bargain. And quality of play and safety would quickly become issues because a significant number of guys likely wouldn’t play, leaving teams with holes and almost no time to figure out how to fill them. Imagine Trevor Lawrence getting carted off the field because the 4th string o-lineman forced into starting couldn’t stop the All-American pass rusher across from him.

  21. We have only our selves to blame for this. we elected selfish ignorant leaders who did not take this virus seriously from the beginning. And two society as whole And we as citizens bought into ridiculous conspiracy theories and pushed to open up the country way too soon.

  22. This is the thinking of all five major conferences…

    Pac-12, Big Ten – “We need to win the race to be the first to opt out so we can act like we care more than the other conferences.”

    Big 12 – “What does Texas want to do?”

    ACC – “What do Notre Dame and Clemson want to do? This won’t impact hoops, will it?”

    SEC – “You’ll have to pry the pigskin out of our cold, dead hands…”

  23. I don’t like what it says about society when we are talking about a “looming explosion of COVID-19 litigation”.

    Our society has turned into victims…if I think I’ve been wronged, I sue. If I am offended, I’m a victim and expect other people to change to fit me.

  24. Hypocrisy rages on like always. Colin Cowherd is 1000% right. You can fly in these Petri dish tubes known as airplanes, you can still go to class at those same schools that are cancelling football (with other students who are NOT being tested like football players). You can do all these things but you can’t play football. BS. Please don’t tell me that this is about safety. Lawyers got involved, period point blank and this is all it is. Figuring out legal language for potential risks of unpaid students is much more nuanced. The nfl works because the players are unionized, they’re paid, they’re protected along the employers. God I really hope the SEC plays a full yr with half full stadiums while they count their money and have little to no issues like nascar while the rest of the conferences lose out. God that will be so delicious

  25. Lawyer’s justifying their own existance. There’s a real simple solution. Get rid of the scum sucking lawyers.

  26. I thought Congress already included liability protection in one of the packages. If not they should.

  27. For all you out there who keep on saying the schools make billions they have all the money. They also spend billions, most division one schools athletics programs lose money. so please don’t give me this all they are making all this money to players should get some.

  28. Aloha,
    The reason a college or HS wants players to sign a waiver is because they think the player might get sick. And. Colleges and HS’s don’t want to get sued. So, they want to shift the risk to the player.
    Another way to avoid the risk of being sued, or minimizing it, is for colleges and HS to take reasonable steps to make playing safer. Thereby avoiding being sued for negligence.

    Nah.

    I think the players should agree with the colleges and HS’s. Since the colleges and HS’s think the player will get sick, the player should decide not to play.

    IMHO.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.