There are roughly 800 student athletes on the 68 basketball teams competing for the title of the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship. Behind the hard work, long practices and team spirit, there is an entire business aspect that interests insurance agents.
Since 2005, the NCAA requires all universities to verify that each of their student athletes has medical insurance in place for potential injuries before they can compete in games or participate in practice and team workouts. The policy can be held by the student athlete, their parents or guardians, or through the school itself.
The NCAA’s Catastrophic Insurance Program covers students who are “catastrophically injured” while participating in a covered activity such as intercollegiate games. The policy offers benefits, but only for expenses above its $90,000 deductible. As such, the NCAA requires that student athletes’ personal policies cover expenses up to the program’s $90,000 deductible.
The NCAA also offers a disability program for approved students that protects them against the loss of future earnings if an injury during their college career prevents them from playing professionally. The Exceptional Student-Athlete Disability Insurance Program is only available for qualifying athletes in the baseball, basketball, football and ice hockey programs who have been approved by the head of the program.
Who pays for what?
When a student athlete is injured while playing or participating in an NCAA event, there can be some confusion as to who pays for what. Does it fall on the student’s personal insurance? Does the NCAA or university itself pay?
Many times student athletes are left in the gap between what their personal medical insurancecovers and what the school doesn’t cover. Two years ago during the March Madness tournament, Kevin Ware, a forward for the Louisville Cardinals, was seriously injured during a Midwest Regional Final game while trying to block a shot; the gruesome fracture in his right leg left a bone sticking about six inches out of his skin.