Return to play for US college sports - legal risks, liability waivers and best practices
On May 20, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the governing body for college sports in the United States, announced that colleges and universities across the country could bring student-athletes back to campus as early as June 1 for voluntary workouts for football and men’s and women’s basketball. Coaches are not allowed to be present during these voluntary activities until after July 1, and student-athletes are only permitted to work-out a total of eight hours per week during the summer.
Two days later, on May 22, the NCAA lifted the previous ban against returning to campus that had been in place to mirror local, state and federal stay-at-home orders issued because of the COVID-19 pandemic, to include all Division I athletes and sports. As government issued pandemic orders eased, so too were restrictions regarding the re-opening of college sports in this country. Certainly, no college sport is more important financially than the return of college football. Simply stated, college football is the king of all revenue generating sports in the U.S.
In light of the announcements, this article examines the main return to play issues facing US college sports, in particular:
- Reported cases
- Additional safety procedures
- Pledges and liability waivers
- Debate on legal immunity
- Best practices
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- Tags: College Athletics | College Football | Coronavirus | COVID-19 | Duty of Care | National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) | Tort | USA
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About the Author
Partner, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP (Los Angeles)
Richard Giller focuses his practice on recovering insurance benefits from reluctant insurance companies on behalf of his corporate and individual clients.
With more than 30 years of experience as an insurance recovery lawyer, Richard counsels for his clients in complex insurance and commercial matters and, when necessary, crafts litigation strategies to protect his clients. He has represented policyholders all over the country and successfully secured hundreds of millions of dollars in defense costs, settlements and indemnity payments on behalf of his clients. Richard is a strong advocate for policyholders in cases involving nearly every type of insurance coverage.
In addition to representing corporate clients, Richard also represents collegiate and professional athletes, professional sports teams and entertainers in connection with permanent total disability (PTD), temporary total disability (TTD) and loss-of-value (LOV) insurance claims, as well as securing workers’ compensation benefits for professional athletes. His sports insurance clients have called him “the foremost expert in the area of sports insurance,” noting he’s “a pleasure to work with.” He also has significant experience in matters involving event cancellation and other types of entertainment insurance claims.
Colleague Eric Chenowith, Owner of Leverage Disability and Life Insurance Services recently said, “In a world where insurance consumers are often misled by unscrupulous brokers and disregarded by carriers during claims, there is Richard Giller to keep them honest. The past six years I have had the honor to get to know Richard professionally and personally. This time has allowed me to attest to his character, work ethic and integrity. Most importantly, he arms me with confidence to pursue my career as the country’s leading Lloyd’s sports Insurance producer knowing he is there to deploy if a claim is ever unreasonably denied.