Politics + NCAA = Heated, emotional response from government leader

1 Nov

Former Oklahoma forward Kyle Hardrick and his family are fighting OU and the NCAA over unpaid medical expenses. (PHOTO: ESPN)

By Justin Young
National Hoops Report

“(The NCAA) is one of the most vicious, most ruthless organizations ever created by mankind. I think you would compare the NCAA to Al Capone and to the mafia.

“It’s a systemic, ongoing, prolonged abuse of thousands and thousands of innocent young men and women who are only trying to make a life for themselves and live the American dream.”

And with that, folks, we have a story.

Those are the harsh words of Illinois Representative Bobby Rush after hearing the story of former Oklahoma forward Kyle Hardrick and his battle with the school regarding unpaid medical expenses from sports-related injuries.

Hardrick, who is now at Pratt Community College in Kansas, was on the Sooner roster for two seasons.

From Nicole Auerbach‘s story in USA Today:

His mother, Valerie Hardrick, said the school refused to grant a waiver for medical hardship that would allow her son to play at junior college after transferring.

Prior to Tuesday’s forum, Hardrick’s family provided documents to the Associated Press showing that team doctors diagnosed him with a torn meniscus in his knee and wrote down on practice logs that he should be held out because of it. The family said OU has refused to pursue the waiver unless the family agrees to a settlement that would prohibit him or his family members from enrolling at Oklahoma or any university governed by its board of regents. The proposed settlement also would prevent the Hardricks from suing the school.

“My insurance does not cover all of Kyle’s medical bills,” Valerie Hardrick said. “The university of Oklahoma refused to pay for Kyle’s surgery, his rehab, and his medication. The university actions also allowed Kyle to be released without appropriate medical treatment before consulting his original surgeon.

…The NCAA requires schools to certify an athlete has insurance for athletically related injuries, up to the deductible of the Catastrophic Injury Insurance Program (currently $90,000). That insurance can be offered by the school, a parent or a personal policy of the athlete.”

From NewsOK.com:

“Hardrick said she and her husband didn’t learn until early this year that a magnetic resonance imaging exam was done on his knee in 2010 and showed damage; she said she found out about the MRI because the medical clinic that performed the test called about the outstanding bill.”

If the medical bills weren’t a big enough problem, Hardrick is still waiting for his transcript to be released. Hardrick has a $3,000 bill for the summer 2011 semester that remains unpaid.

If Hardrick had a guaranteed four-year scholarship, like the ruling that was just approved last month, the unpaid bill would not have come into question.

When asked about recruiting changes last week at the Pac-12 Media Day, Arizona State head coach Herb Sendek said the rules may simply be getting its own way of doing the right thing.

“Over the years with good intent, with intelligent rationale, it seems like we continue to add layer upon layer of rules,” Sendek said. “In many cases, those rules have created chasms between coaches and players, coaches and perspective players. And I think anything we can do to simplify and standardize the rules can go a long way toward helping the member institutions, the coaches, administrators and players.”

The four-year scholarship is long overdue. Most every coach in the business will agree to that.

The Hardricks, however, will continue to fight the battle over medical bills. Representative Rush will continue to fight the mafia.

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