By Ken Reed

‘It is very much a moral dilemma’

The next lawyer that sues a university, or the NCAA, on behalf of a client who has suffered a brain injury due to playing football will definitely make use of some recent comments from a leader of the University of Colorado.

Linda Shoemaker, vice chair of the University of Colorado’s Board of Regents, publicly criticized the university’s football program during a board meeting this week.

“There is one risk that I feel like we never discuss, and that is one I want to highlight today — that is football, particularly Division I, Pac-12 football on this Boulder campus,” said Shoemaker. “I believe that we are using these student athletes in football, in a sport that is primarily for our pleasure.

“It (football) is very much a moral dilemma for me now,” continued Shoemaker.

“I don’t want to watch it. I don’t want to participate in it. I don’t believe that it has a good place in the academic enterprise, which is the University of Colorado.”

During her talk, Shoemaker mentioned all the research she has reviewed on the risks of playing football. She also warned the board about the potential legal risks to the university by continuing to sponsor football. In addition, she referenced the remarks of Bob Carmichael, a former University of Colorado football player who has become an outspoken critic of the university for sponsoring football on campus. Carmichael urged the university to consider the risks associated with playing football during a public comment period.

“CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) is a byproduct of smashing your head, not just smashing your head but smashing your body,” Carmichael said. He added:

“We need a game that people can play, and their mothers and fathers can say, ‘Yes, son, go ahead and play.’ If you can’t say that to someone, then this university should not support it.”

Shoemaker concluded by pushing the other regents to examine the risks of football to the human brain and to consult experts to “see what we could do as one university to improve student athlete health and safety for our football players.”

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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