Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law


Sarah Lemons

First Page



College football is desperately in need of new NCAA rules governing voluntary practices and the real problem is that coaches will always find a way to slip around the rules in order to seize the rewards of winning. Therefore, the NCAA must perform its duty and reform the rules to protect the health and well being of the collegiate football player, because as a voluntary association of a coalition of 960 member colleges, it has been given the authority to adopt rules governing its member institutions' recruiting, eligibility, financial aid and admissions.

Part II of this Note will begin by examining the factual circumstances surrounding three collegiate football deaths occurring during voluntary practices prior to the 2001 season.

Part III will then explore how courts have imposed liability upon colleges and universities for injuries to their students.

Part IV calls for reformation of the NCAA and its regulation of voluntary football practices, demanding that the NCAA should change the rules regulating voluntary football practices to reflect the high-risk nature of collegiate football and the reality that such practices are in effect quasi-mandatory. It will argue that the NCAA ban all forms of off-season "voluntary" practices or, in the alternative, recognize and allow such workouts to continue, but require that proper medical supervision be provided.

Part V of this Note will argue that the NCAA has disregarded its founding principles to protect the welfare of the student-athlete.

Part VI will delve into the NCAA's current regulations and expose their weaknesses.

Part VII of this Note offers the counter arguments to such proposals and the problems they create.

Lastly, Part VIII will argue that if the NCAA chooses to sit idly upon the current regulations, it, as well as its member universities, should be held liable for allowing practices without proper medical supervision to protect football players. It will argue that the special relationship between the college and the student-athlete not only exists to impose liability and a heightened duty of care upon the college, but also extends to reach the governing body the NCAA.