Texas football player Julius Whittier is the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit against the NCAA that “exceeds $5 million” in damages for players who did not play professionally but have been diagnosed with a brain injury.
According to the legal documents filed in U.S. federal court on Monday, the class is defined as college football players from 1960 to 2014.
The lawsuit claims the NCAA breached its duty to protect players from head injuries even though the NCAA Constitution outlines that each member must “protect the health of, and provide a safe environment for, each participating student-athletes.”
“The NCAA has ignored this duty and profited immensely from its inaction and denial, all to the detriment of the players,” the lawsuit states.
Whittier’s attorney, Houston-based Dwight Jefferson, could not be immediately reached.
KEYE-TV was the first to report the legal filing on Tuesday afternoon. The station reported the total damages being sought was $50 billion, but an attorney told the station that initial number was a typographical error. The maximum amount being sought is $50 million.
Whittier was the first black football player in UT history. He arrived at the university in 1969 and earned a varsity letter in 1970 and ’71. Jefferson told the legal website Law360 that Whittier, 64, was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2012 and was now “totally disabled.”
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