Texas A&M has broken new ground in the NCAA by purchasing a loss-of-value insurance policy of more than $50,000 for offensive lineman Cedric Ogbuehi so that he could return to school for his senior season.
According to Bruce Feldman of FoxSports.com, Ogbuehi was deciding between a return to school or entering the 2014 NFL draft, in which he says teams put a first-round grade on him.
Ogbuehi had to think of the "financial implications for his family," including the possibility of taking out an insurance policy, which a lot of high-profile potential draftees take out, but his family couldn't afford the massive premiums.
The report notes that there was a new NCAA rule that allowed schools to help students out through a Student Assistance Fund that covers "things such as the cost of post-eligibility financial aid, or if a student-athlete can't afford to travel home in cases of emergency, or if they need a suit to wear to university functions or events like SEC Media Days."
Feldman wrote that there's a limit to the amount each school can spend, with the SEC office telling him that last year "each of its members allotted $350,000 for the fund" and "the tab for Ogbuehi could reach $60,000 for Texas A&M."
You think about that dollar amount as substantial for a school to pay—it covers nearly four years of tuition at Penn State, according to CBSNews.com—but the value Ogbuehi provides Texas A&M is also significant.
The senior offensive tackle was named to the preseason All-America team, according to Phil Steele's College Football Preview Magazine, via 12thMan.com. NFL draft analyst Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com listed Ogbuehi as the top senior tackle in the country:
As Feldman noted, Ogbuehi is so important to the Aggies program that head coach Kevin Sumlin, offensive line coach B.J. Anderson, associate athletic director for football Justin Moore and veteran director of football operations Gary Reynolds all visited his home to convince him to return to school.
Ogbuehi said in the article that without this insurance policy he probably wouldn't have returned for the 2014 season, so Texas A&M was able to provide the player some reassurance.
That's a micro view of this scenario, though. The big-picture perspective involves the windows this opens for every school across the country. Texas A&M's assistant director of compliance told Feldman that this could "hypothetically" become part of a team's recruiting pitch.
The top-tier players aren't likely to change their minds about going to the NFL, nor are the guys who feel they are ready and want to help out their families. But players whose skills need more refinement, or even running backs who feel the need to declare early because of how devalued the position has become in the NFL, could decide to return to school knowing that there is less risk involved in the event of injury if a school is able to help with an insurance policy.
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