Marcus Lattimore of the South Carolina Gamecocks came into the 2012 season as one of the best players at the running back position in the country. His season came to an end prematurely after suffering a horrific knee injury against the Tennessee Volunteers.
Yet, there’s an interesting notion that he should take the NFL and NCAA to court and sue for lost wages. The argument for why he should is because he does not need a degree to play professionally and he’s not being paid to play at the college level, meaning his talent gets exploited by the university.
To declare for the NFL Draft a player must be out of high school for at least three years. Former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett challenged the rule in 2003 with a lawsuit and lost.
While Lattimore does not need a degree he may have made a promise to a family member or to himself to complete his degree. The notion that he isn’t being paid is an incorrect assumption. Most college players are given full scholarships or partial scholarships that will pay for tuition, books and room and board.
Not only that the NCAA has funds set aside for athletes to take advantage of.
While injuries are a risk no matter the sport the reality is only a small percentage even get the opportunity to play at the next level and how can one decide how much money Lattimore would have made in the NFL when the contracts aren’t guaranteed? What happens if he didn’t suffer the injury against the Volunteers and instead suffers a career ending injury in his first game as a pro? How about the players who have little chance of being drafted?
Lattimore can use Frank Gore and Willis McGahee as inspiration as those two are examples of running backs who have suffered severe knee injuries and were able to find success after being drafted and silence the doubters about coming back from the injuries.
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