Will there be any consequences for Arizona violating the NCAA concussion policy?

Submitted by mejunglechop on October 30th, 2012 at 3:49 AM

I'm not a doctor, but I suspect this happens more than we'd like to admit. Last year Tommy Rees looked more than a little dazed and came back and this year Will Gholston appeared to be out cold. Nevertheless I've never seen the media make an issue of it before, maybe they have feared losing access. I'm glad it's happening. I am disappoint, Rodriguez. Obviously the handling of this has consequences for all of college football. 




October 30th, 2012 at 4:09 AM ^

Kinda OT, but it's deffinetly worth watching, I mean the NCAA had a problem with him making the players stretch to much, so chances are something serious, like concussions, won't be looked at lightly.  Nevermind it's the NCAA so flip a coin, heads - they will, tails - they won't.



October 30th, 2012 at 4:32 AM ^

I am dissapointed, but lets be real, this win will do more for RRod than anything the NCAA will do. He prob got himself a year of goodwill from the fanbase, as no one expected a big win from  them this soon. Besides, I am sure Scott didn't want to come out of that game, even though he prob should have


October 30th, 2012 at 4:41 AM ^

I agree that it's better for RR's job security than taking the guy out of the game, but that doesn't excuse it. So what if Scott wanted to stay in? It's not that he probably should have been taken out of the game, he obviously should have been taken out of the game because that's exactly what happened when he had an actual test. Pretty cowardly of RR to basically avoid it in the press conference also. For the record, I was someone who wanted to keep RR at the time, but this makes me even more relieved now that he's gone (assuming Hoke wouldn't do the same, which you can't be sure of til it happens).


October 30th, 2012 at 7:29 AM ^

I am in total agreement with you, but the fact is that in todays sports world, money talks. Money is earned through wins. As reprehensible as potentially sacrificing the future of one of your players for a win is, it happens all too frequently in todays NCAA football.

Blue in Yarmouth

October 30th, 2012 at 10:07 AM ^

I wasn't one who wanted to keep RR, but did think that he was given a raw deal at the same time. I was being a selfish fan who wanted wins now, future be damned. 

But if I put myself in RR's shoes lets look at what recent history has shown me. At UM he did all the right things IMHE in terms of running the program the right way where discipline and medical decisions are concerned (coordinator decisions are a completely other animal). More than once he took players out of games because it was the right thing to do, regardless of the fact that the players backing them up were an obvious downgrade. He lost a lot of game, couldn't field an adequate defense and as a result was fired after only three years, never seeing his first recruiting class even play in their junior years.

Fast forward to now and he finds himself in a situation where he thnks playing his #1 QB can give his team a huge upset of one of the premier teams in the country and possibly provide him some good will for the future....I am not remotely saying I agree with his decision, but it's easy for me to disagree, I didn't recently get (what many would call prematurely) fired from my previous job for losing too many games. I can't help but think the way he was treated at UM had a direct effect on his decision making during this game.

Also, let's just stay off our high horses for once. It's far too easy to sit down on a saturday afternoon and WATCH football and then jump all over various coaches for their decisions the next day when none of it has any effect on your life (save maybe upsetting you if your team loses). I would wager that some of us here have done things far worse in their professional lives and justify it to themselves with very little effort.

French West Indian

October 30th, 2012 at 11:08 AM ^

And it's worth considering whether his Michigan experience changed Rodriguez for the worse.

This is why I, personally as an alumnus, don't get too caught up in wins & losses.  A college coach should be given the courtesy of five years to see if he can succeed.  The win at all cost mentality is fine for the professionals but doesn't belong in the college game.


November 5th, 2012 at 1:36 PM ^

I can see where you're coming from, but I think "kids with probable brain injuries shouldn't be exposed to violent blows to the head" is a tiny, runt of a horse to sit on.

Yeah, RR got screwed in many ways, and he did lose his job, but he's a millionaire and still coaching at a major program. I can't say I feel too bad for him.


October 30th, 2012 at 10:00 AM ^

whether he plays or not after a blow to the head. And BTW, one thing no one ever says in the current hysteria over "major head trauma!!" is that incentives for coaches are actually to bench a player rather than sit him after a concussion. If a player truly was disoriented and not able to perform well, particularly a position as crucial as QB, putting him back in hurts the team rather than helps it. Scott is a grown up, as are the plyers in the NFL. If they want to shoulder the risk, the risk of that decision should be entirely their own.


October 30th, 2012 at 5:26 AM ^

He *was* evaluated for concussion, they just didn't do it right away. 

In fact I'm suprised at the medical staff more than RR.  Surely they would have realized that vomiting after a hit to the head is a sign of (potential) concussion?   He should have been held out immediately. 

The trainers should have been on top of things, they should have been attending to the QB right away.  No pun intended, this is a no-brainer.  Hit to the head followed by vomiting? Where were the trainers? Team doctors?

I get that this may ultimately fall on RR's shoulders but honestly the med staff failed here, not RR.

Lastly to answer the question - no, probably not.  NCAA will do a superficial 'investigation' and send Arizona a strongly worded letter.



October 30th, 2012 at 7:13 AM ^

I think this is more on the trainers than RR.  Plus, I am not sure that RR would have known he was hit in the head.  It was apparant from watching on TV, but if you look at that play it would not be as likely that the coaches saw the trailing knee of the defender hit him in the head.  Even on TV the first time it was not that clear.  The kid throwing up should have been enough for trainers to ask why, but I doubt the first thing you think of is that it is a concussion when you don't see him get hit in the head.  You might think he is just getting sick.  As stated below, an intial exam was done on the kid and he was cleared.  This is clearly not an RR thing.

I realize I will probably get ripped for this, but sometimes its to easy to sit at home and assume the worst without knowing the facts from the sideline.  RR was pretty quick to do the right thing on concussions at Michigan, particularly with McGuffie.  I don't see that as changing.

Maize and Blue…

October 30th, 2012 at 5:51 PM ^

he held Denard out against Illinois with his job on the line and it was never determined Denard had a concussion.  The hatred here for RR makes me laugh.  Personally, I would rather watch an offensive shootout vs incompetent offense and a battle of FGs.  If I want to fall asleep watching football I can watch soccer or the NFL.


October 30th, 2012 at 8:26 PM ^

After the game, RR said the training staff makes decisions about head-related stuff.  Period.

I'm not a RR was screwed-at-Mich defender, but he did the right thing with his job on the line.  That I can respect.





October 30th, 2012 at 5:44 AM ^

This will almost surely win today's award for the "Release the Hounds" thread.

- - -

Not to reflexively defend a "weasel" coach (Gregg Easterbrook, yuk-yuk) who has, let us not forget, committed MAJOR VIOLATIONS (!!!) at a school with TRADITION (!!!), but there is at least one example from the past where a head injury may have been handled appropriately:


- - -

Still, it looks bad.

Section 1

October 30th, 2012 at 5:46 AM ^

If so, can you give us the citation?

Dan Diamond didn't supply any "policy."

Actually, Dan Diamond of Forbes didn't, uh, actually see the game:

"I didn’t actually watch the game, but was told that the announcers were blasé about Scott playing through  his big hit."

I suppose there may be some reason that Dan Diamond is picking on Arizona (did he go to USC?  did he go to AZ's next opponent, UCLA?), but since he didn't see the game that he is writing about, I am guessing that he didn't see the MSU-OSU game (Gholston) either, and that he hasn't seen any "NCAA concussion" policy because I haven't seen one and I am not so sure that one exists.


October 30th, 2012 at 6:09 AM ^

I don't know if there is a legal defination for policy with the NCAA. I know by-law has a specific meaning.

There is a safety sheet that covers evaluation.


The NCAA adopted legislation in August 2010 that requires each member institution to develop its own concussion management plan for reducing the risks and safely treating the injuries.



I do not see any penalty coming down on the school other than perhaps the letter mentioned above.


October 30th, 2012 at 7:44 AM ^

Requiring members to develop their own concussion policies makes perfect sense if you, as an organization, are trying to avoid legal action for injuries.  "Don't look at us; the University was responsible for implementing a policy to protect your safety.  We even required them to do so.  We're on your side here."


October 30th, 2012 at 11:46 PM ^

This is such fucked up reasoning it's hard to know where to begin. It makes perfect sense if the only consideration that guides action is covering your ass from a legal system that would punish unsuccessful attempts to do the right thing but not cynical attempts to avoid responsibility. It makes no sense if you want to run your organization in a way that's consistent with being a minimally decent human being. Lame lame lame lame lame.


October 30th, 2012 at 8:37 AM ^

The human brain isn't different from one part of the country to another.

Based upon my experience visiting different locales such as East Lansing, MI and Columbus, OH, I disagree with your contention.

All kidding aside, concussions are no joking matter and I agree with the actual premise of your post that a uniform policy ought to be created and enforced.


October 30th, 2012 at 9:31 AM ^

Or because it doesn't call it out in every case?  Is there anything you wouldn't defend Rich over?  On Saturday, other than basically saying "haha, I don't care if the kid was hurt...Arizona won!" you said "let's see what he says in the press conference...when I railed on Dantonio it was because he gave a non-answer at the press conference.  Well, Rich gave basically a non-answer, and you're ok with it. You're starting to sound like the people who defended JoePa for everything. 

Look, it doesn't make him the devil for making a mistake. And there's a much greater track record of Dantonio doing questionable things than Rich. But at least show some consistency in reaction to the act. If you're going to call for a hangin' for Dantonio because he had a player go down and look shaken and put him back in, at least acknowledge that a guy who clearly got hit twice in the head and then threw up probably shouldn't have gone back in the game either.  Or say it's cool in both cases, as long as you ask "are you ok?", and get off Dantonio's case for the same thing.

turd ferguson

October 30th, 2012 at 10:34 AM ^

I agree with you that I need to see more than just this story.

Having said that, you are really inconsistent in the way you apply your ethics.  Are you implying that as long as coaches follow NCAA policy, you're willing to accept whatever they do with concussed players?  That's an extremely forgiving ethical position (or reflects absolute faith in NCAA rules).  Aren't you the guy who thinks that no coach or AD should ever mislead anyone about anything, since "lying" is awful?

Plus, why does it matter that the writer didn't see the game?  Are people only allowed to comment on issues arising in games that they happened to be watching?

EDIT: Upon re-reading, I'm thinking that maybe you brought up the whole "concussion policy" thing just to discredit the writer.  If that's the case, how about we start with figuring out whether this is true before attacking this writer in any way possible?

Section 1

October 30th, 2012 at 10:48 AM ^

I brought up the lack of something that is an actual, sanction-containing "concussion policy" in order to attack the OP's entitlement of this thread, which flatly asserts that Arizona violated something called the "NCAA concussion policy," as well as Dan Diamond of Forbes, who more accurately reported that the NCAA has a few memos, information sheets, etc., but no "concussion policy", but who also implied that there is some sort of bright line that Arizona violated.


October 30th, 2012 at 2:36 PM ^

Right, so they didn't violate a policy, they violated the spirit of a directive. Semantics point for you. Arizona still recklessly endangered their player's health to win a football game. Should I infer from your silence on that massive can of worms that it doesn't bother you that they can do that with impunity? Or should I just go on believing you'll bend yourself into pretzels to defend Rodriguez?


October 30th, 2012 at 6:24 AM ^

shows the character of a coach that cares more about wins than his players health. he should be punished by the school and/or the league.


October 30th, 2012 at 6:25 AM ^

Hack job article by a guy who doesn't know what he's talking about. Rich Rod is not a doctor. He asked the kid if he was alright and Matt Scott said yes. Later after it was obvious this was not true he did pull him out of the game. Arizona damn near lost because they sat him during a key series where they had to punt. This is not an example of a coach doing anything to win while heartlessly playing a kid who is injured.

Why is it that Rich Rod manages to make journalists write awful articles?


October 30th, 2012 at 10:44 AM ^

To be fair, I was watching this game and it was pretty obvious the guy should have been pulled out immediately. The play involved a personal foul where two guys actually hit him in the head. If I recall correctly, 1 guy hit helmet to helmet and the other had shoulder to helmet, so everyone knew he was targeted in the head. Plus, directly following that, the kid pukes. I won't speculate on whether RR kept him in to score the TD, but I was thinking at the time, "hmmm, this is kind of fishy".


October 30th, 2012 at 6:37 AM ^

A few things

1) I saw the game. Arizona took a time out after the hit and the coaches and medical staff talked to Scott both after the hit and during the time out, so they did do an initial check

2) When RR was at Michigan I saw him sit starting quarterbacks in three different games when the outcome was definitely in doubt because of a potential concussion (Iowa 2009, Iowa 2010, and Illinois 2010). I got the sense from those games that that kind of injury was non-negotiable for him.

3) Scott said after the game that he'd been nauseous all day.

The arizona forum boards are lit up about this topic; a lot of doctors have been weighing in basically saying "puke <> concussion"


October 30th, 2012 at 7:11 AM ^

I think if there is one thing RR has proven its that he does not say the right thing at press conferences even when he is doing the right thing.  I would never judge this guy by what he says to the press, it is the only thing he is worse at than coaching defenses.

snarling wolverine

October 30th, 2012 at 7:33 AM ^

When RR was at Michigan I saw him sit starting quarterbacks in three different games when the outcome was definitely in doubt because of a potential concussion (Iowa 2009, Iowa 2010, and Illinois 2010).

Actually, I think 2010 Illinois was the only time that happened. In 2009 Iowa, Tate Forcier was simply pulled, and we found out after the fact that he was concussed. In 2010 Iowa, Denard hurt his shoulder, not his head.

I agree in general that it's probably more an institutional issue (not having a proper concussion policy) than one specifically on Rich Rod.  He's going to act on the information he has.  Our doctors were proactive in that 2010 Illinois game and told him Denard had a possible concussion.  Arizona's apparently weren't.