It turns out that Georgia was worried something wrong might happen to Todd Gurley this season — they just weren't sure exactly what it might be.
For that reason, the university has paid more than $75,000 in insurance premiums for Gurley over the last two seasons, according to an ESPN report. That includes a $40,000 policy this year through International Specialty Insurance.
The policy was taken out in case of an injury. Specifically, if the star running back had been sidelined with an injury that would keep him from playing for good, he would have received $5 million.
Even if an injury just resulted in Gurley dropping in the NFL Draft, where he is expected to be a sure-fire first round draft choice, that would be enough to kick in a $2.5 million option for the athlete.
While some fans may think that student-athletes only receive scholarships as reimbursement for their performance on Saturdays, the reality is much more complicated. Free meal plans, bowl-game swag bags and yes, even insurance policies that cost tens of thousands of dollars, are all kosher under NCAA bylaws.
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The Student Assistance Fund is a specially-designated NCAA program that gives moneys to schools to pay for certain items a student might not be able to afford, ranging from emergency plane tickets to the aforementioned insurance premiums.
Texas A&M paid offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi's insurance through the fund and Oregon even reimbursed players who had already taken out insurance, including phenom quarterback Marcus Mariota.
There are questions though as to whether the money is best used for real aid, rather than insurance premiums that benefit the athlete but don't present a clear boon for other students at the schools. Athletic departments will claim that since they have a separate budget from the general school fund, regular students shouldn't worry about draining public funds.
But the fact remains that even as football programs raise millions of dollars, that money could have just as easily been re-invested in academics if the two budgets were streamlined.
Gurley remains unable to play as the NCAA and the University of Georgia deliberate on how many games the running back should miss after receiving un-permissable benefits for his likeness.
It was revealed this week that the Heisman front-runner had allegedly been paid to sign numerous autographs and other memorabilia, a clear break from NCAA policy.
In the meantime, Georgia won 34-0 in a pivotal conference match up against Missouri.
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