Earlier this summer, Florida State QB Jameis Winston took out an insurance policy valued at $8-10 million for disability and loss of value to cover his potential final season at Florida State.
On Monday, Florida State told ESPN that the university is paying for the coverage.
No, it's not a violation of NCAA rules. (If it was, Florida State wouldn't be doing it or talking about it.) Rather, the university's involvement in the insurance is part of the Student Assistance Fund. The SAF allows schools to "assist student-athletes in meeting financial needs that arise in conjunction with participation in intercollegiate athletics, enrollment in an academic curriculum or that recognize academic achievement."
Tomahawk Nation first reported that Florida State was planning to pay. Winston's policy is based on his status as a likely top-10 draft pick in the NFL draft and he could be paid if he falls out due to injury or illness in the 2014 season at Florida State.
As a redshirt freshman in 2013, Winston was ineligible to declare for the 2014 NFL draft. He's the first returning Heisman candidate to purchase the loss of value part of the insurance since Sam Bradford at Oklahoma. Bradford won the Heisman in 2008 as a sophomore and returned for his junior season. He suffered a sprained AC joint in the first game of the season against BYU and when he returned three weeks later, hurt his shoulder again and missed the rest of the season. However, he was still selected as the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NFL draft by the St. Louis Rams.
When reporting the news in June, Yahoo's Rand Getlin said the premium on a policy like Winston's would run approximately $55,000-60,000. Last year, Fox Sports reported SEC schools were allotted $350,000 for the SAF, so Florida State likely has a similar amount.
While Winston's policy may represent a sizeable chunk of the money allotted to Florida State, is there any question that Winston is worth it? As the QB of the reigning national champions and the school's first Heisman winner since Chris Weinke, Winston is by far the most valuable athlete at Florida State and worth more to the school in marketing power and exposure than the premium on the policy.
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