CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. Three former college football players are suing the NCAA, saying it failed to educate them about the risks of concussions and did not do enough to prevent, diagnose and treat brain injuries.
Chris Walker and Ben Martin, who played for Tennessee from 2007 to 2011, and Dan Ahern, who played for North Carolina State from 1972 to 1976, filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Wednesday.
The complaint alleges the NCAA failed to meet its obligation to former players and because of its neglect the players are "suffering the dramatic consequences." The lawsuit seeks an NCAA-funded medical-monitoring program for former football players.
The lawsuit is similar to one filed in federal court against the NCAA in 2011 in Illinois. Attorneys in that case recently asked a judge to make it a class-action suit.
NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy said the NCAA has not had the opportunity to review and evaluate the lawsuit.
Last week, the NFL agreed to pay more than three-quarters of a billion dollars to settle lawsuits from thousands of former players who developed dementia or other concussion-related health problems they say were caused by the game.
The Tennessee lawsuit was filed by Washington-based attorney Michael Hausfeld, who is also the lead attorney in the Ed O'Bannon case that is seeking damages from the NCAA for using athletes' images and likenesses to make billions of dollars.
"The NCAA has not taken the necessary steps to protect these former players even though the medical tools to assist them have been available for some time," Hausfeld said. "It is not too late now for the NCAA to offer important education and needed medical testing to these former players."
Walker and Martin were defensive ends for the Volunteers. Walker, who lives in Chattanooga, Tenn., played 50 games during his career, the last two as a starter. He had 12 career sacks. Martin, who lives in Knoxville, Tenn., played 45 games and had 4 1/2 sacks. Ahern, who lives in Pensacola, Fla., was an offensive lineman who earned letters for playing in 1974 and '75. None of them played in the NFL.
In the complaint, Walker and Martin claim to have had repetitive head trauma in scrimmages, practices, and games during their careers, and that they now suffer from severe headaches.
Ahern claims to have an inability to concentrate, poor memory, a ringing in his ears, and sleeping problems.
Rule on target The new penalties for targeting in college football resulted in 10 ejections in 75 Football Bowl Subdivision games during the first week of the season, though three of the ejections were overturned by instant replay.
National coordinator of officials Rogers Redding said the rate of targeting penalties was similar to last season, when there was one called for every eight games.
"Officials have handled it well and the players have begun to get the message," he said.
The NCAA changed the penalty for targeting a defenseless player with a hit to the head to add an ejection this season. Targeting has been a penalty for five seasons.
USC Cody Kessler, Max Wittek and coach Lane Kiffin all know who's starting at quarterback for No. 25 USC on Saturday night.
Kiffin just won't allow his quarterbacks to tell anybody else not even the rest of the Trojans.
"That's coach Kiffin's decision," Kessler said. "He does what's best for us in his mind, and it works out for us."
USC's elaborate quarterback competition has extended into the second week of the season with no clear winner or resolution. Kiffin has refused to publicly name a starter this week, saying both sophomores will be ready to play against Washington State at the Los Angeles Coliseum.