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Frostburg State football player pressured back on field after blows to the head dies
Q: Have any member schools been disciplined regarding concussion management plans?
A: Not to my knowledge.
Q: Has the NCAA considered disciplining any member institutions regarding concussion management plans?
A: No, not to my knowledge.
In an interview with The Washington Times weeks before the deposition, Mr. Klossner and an NCAA representative said no university, to their knowledge, had been investigated or penalized for violating the rule.
A slew of internal NCAA emails made public in July from the unrelated case revealed an organization where staffers worried about liability and some mocked concerns about the issue. Emails suggested a public relations campaign, changed “shalls” in proposed guidelines to “shoulds” and resisted efforts to prevent athletes from returning to play the same day they suffered concussions.
Coaches received a pass.
“It would not be appropriate,” Chris Strobel, NCAA director of enforcement, wrote Mr. Klossner 11 months before Derek died, “for enforcement to suspend or otherwise penalize a coach pursuant to the current legislation even if the student-athlete was required to participate after having been diagnosed with a concussion.”
The note added that the point of the rule wasn’t to make sure universities adhered to the plan unless “systemic or blatant violations” existed.
Two months after Derek died, Mr. Klossner exchanged emails with a colleague about an unspecified attempt to audit the plans.
“Fyi,” Mr. Klossner wrote. “It was a ‘no’ result for reviewing concussion plans.”
Frostburg State officials told the Sheelys that they couldn’t give them Derek’s 2011 Schutt DNA Pro Plus helmet in anticipation of an NCAA investigation. A university statement in August 2011 after the death promised more.
“The university,” the statement said, “will review such findings as may be available to us, as well as our existing procedures to ensure that FSU is following every contemporary and appropriate standards regarding athletic practices.”
A public records request to Frostburg State for documents related to an NCAA or university investigation into any aspect of Sheely’s death or the university’s concussion policy returned empty last month. Former players interviewed by The Times waited for someone from the NCAA or university to ask them what happened. No one did.
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