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Players sue NCAA over concussions

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Three former football players are suing the NCAA, saying it failed to educate them about the risks of concussions and did not do enough to prevent, diagnose and treat brain injuries.

Chris Walker and Ben Martin, defensive ends who played for Tennessee from 2007-11, and Dan Ahern, an offensive lineman for North Carolina State from 1972-76, filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court in Chattanooga on Wednesday.

The complaint alleges the NCAA failed to meet its obligation to former players and because of its neglect the players are "suffering the dramatic consequences." The lawsuit seeks the NCAA to fund a medical-monitoring program for former players.

The lawsuit is similar to one filed in federal court against the NCAA in 2011 in Illinois. Attorneys in that case recently asked a judge to make it a class-action suit.

NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy said the NCAA has not yet evaluated the lawsuit.

Last week, the NFL agreed to pay more than three-quarters of a billion dollars to settle lawsuits from thousands of former players who developed dementia or other concussion-related health problems they say were caused by the game.

The Tennessee lawsuit was filed by Washington-based attorney Michael Hausfeld, who is also the lead attorney in a case that seeks damages from the NCAA for using athletes' images and likenesses.

"The NCAA has not taken the necessary steps to protect these former players even though the medical tools to assist them have been available for some time," Hausfeld said. "It is not too late now for the NCAA to offer important education and needed medical testing to these former players."

Michigan rakes in $200M donation: Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is donating $200 million to Michigan, his alma mater announced, making it the biggest single gift in the school's history but raising questions about Ross' insistence on taxpayer funding to make improvements to his NFL team's stadium. Ross' donation is among the largest ever given to a U.S. college or university. It will be split evenly between the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and the university's athletics department. The donation will make it more difficult for Ross to seek taxpayer help for the $350 million improvements he wants for the Dolphins' stadium, said Andrew Zimbalist, a sports economist at Smith College in Northampton, Mass. "If I were in Miami, then I would have additional questions about why he needed public funding for his stadium," Zimbalist said.

Irish-Wolverines on long hold? Michigan and Notre Dame's fading series seems headed for a break that might last at least a decade. Both sides aren't discussing the future of the rivalry, according to Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon. Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, citing future ACC scheduling, cancelled Michigan games from 2015 through 2017. "There's no room for either one of us to add the other until the early 2020s, at the earliest," Brandon said.

Targeting: The new penalties for targeting resulted in 10 ejections in 75 Division I-A games during the season's first weekend, though three of the ejections were overturned by replay. National coordinator of officials Rogers Redding said the rate of targeting penalties was similar to last season, when there was one called for every eight games. "Officials have handled it well, and the players have begun to get the message," he said, adding it is too soon to know if the ejection that now goes along with the 15-yard penalty will affect how frequently the penalty is called.

Southern Cal: Lane Kiffin said Cody Kessler and Max Wittek know who's starting at quarterback this week against Washington State, but the coach won't allow them to tell anybody, not even teammates. Kessler played into the second half in a win over Hawaii, and he's expected to start again.

Tennessee: Receiver/kick returner Devrin Young (broken hand) is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.

West Texas A&M: Athletic director Michael McBroom said the NCAA is investigating after the Canyon, Texas, school reported violations found during an internal audit of the football program. He said the school has self-imposed sanctions on the Division II program after reviewing the audit. McBroom did not disclose the specifics or severity of the violations, the number it reported, or what sanctions the school self-imposed.

Basketball: The NCAA granted guard Michael Dixon's waiver to play this season at Memphis after transferring from Missouri. The senior guard had announced in November he would transfer after two sexual assault claims became public, though he was not charged in either case.

Players sue NCAA over concussions 09/05/13 [Last modified: Thursday, September 5, 2013 12:55am]

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