This case involves over 4.4 million athletes in forty-three different men’s and women’s sports. The NCAA has over a thousand member institutions, each of which has the option to adopt or reject the NCAA’s concussion policies, as well as the option to create its own concussion policies on a school-by-school, team-by-team, or coach-by-coach basis. Concussion education, evaluation, and treatment varies widely from NCAA institution to the next.
This settlement affects the following group (Class): “All persons who played an NCAA-sanctioned sport at an NCAA member institution on or prior to the Preliminary Approval Date” (which is July 15, 2016).
This includes the following subclasses:
- All persons who played an NCAA-sanctioned Contact Sport at an NCAA member institution on or prior to the Preliminary Approval Date.
- All persons who played an NCAA-sanctioned Non-Contact Sport at an NCAA member institution on or prior to the Preliminary Approval Date.
The court allowed members of the affected class to submit a written request to opt-out of the settlement before March 10, 2017. A member of the class who does not opt out of the settlement would be precluded from filing another lawsuit based on the same claims of this case. However, members of the class would still be allowed to file lawsuits related to “personal injury or bodily injury class claims on behalf of persons who allege injury resulting from their participation in a single NCAA-sanctioned sport at a single-NCAA member school.”
Given that members of the class that do not opt-out will be bound by the settlement, the Court had to ensure that notice was given in a “reasonable manner”. The preliminary approved settlement establishes that notice should be given through different direct and indirect ways, including the following:
- Contact information being gathered from member schools of former and current athletes in the settlement class
- Print Publications (ESPN The Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and USA Today)
- Settlement Class Website
- Press release