85 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 613
Each year, thousands of athletes play college football and are at risk of
incurring a traumatic brain injury (“TBI”). TBI can take many forms including
concussion, Second-Impact Syndrome, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy
(“CTE”), early-onset Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other brain
conditions. These injuries, which many experts believe can be caused by an
athlete’s participation in competitive football, can take years to manifest. But
while college football players face these risks, universities in the National Collegiate
Athletic Association (“NCAA”) have benefited from the billions of
dollars produced each year by the sport. Nevertheless, schools are not required
to provide any medical care for athletes who suffer from TBI as a
result of playing college football.
This Note argues that when considering the risk of TBI to college football
players, the current terms of the athletic scholarship are so one-sidedly
favorable to the NCAA and its member institutions that the athletic scholarship
offered to football players is unconscionable. This Note examines the
two-pronged approach to unconscionability that has been adopted by many
states and argues that the athletic scholarship, considering the manner in
which it is offered and the effect of its substantive terms, satisfies both prongs.
Finally, this Note recommends different measures the NCAA and its member institutions
should take to lessen the degree of unconscionability in the athletic
scholarship for football players.