After South Carolina’s second spring practice, on Thursday night, All-American defensive end Jadeveon Clowney said he has obtained a $5 million insurance policy through the NCAA.
This seemed bound to happen eventually. Clowney said before USC’s bowl game that he didn’t intend to get an insurance policy. But defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward, who helped recruit Clowney, said in January that the coaching staff would talk to Clowney about insurance.
The NCAA started its insurance program in 1990 and provides up to $5 million in coverage. These policies are now standard for high-profile college players like Clowney who either are not yet eligible for the NFL draft, or decide to return for their senior seasons.
Clowney, a junior, is considered a potential Heisman Trophy finalist in 2013 and is the presumptive No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL draft. ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said he would’ve gone No. 1 if he was eligible this year.
In 2009, an NCAA official told Sports Illustrated that a $5 million policy costs between $25,000 and $28,000. Richard Salgado runs Coastal Advisors LLC, a company that provides various insurance services for pro athletes, including life insurance and estate planning. He said the NCAA’s current rates are between $8,000 and $9,000 per million dollars of insurance, which works out to $40,000 to $45,000 for a $5 million policy.
Salgado said he rarely writes policies for college athletes in Clowney’s position because the NCAA’s policies are “more affordable and convenient.” Salgado said he directs college athletes who inquire with him about a policy to the NCAA.
“(The NCAA) executes the loan for you through the NCAA officially approved lender,” Salgado said. “The money goes directly from the (loaning) bank to the insurance company.”
The policies protect only against career-ending injuries, which, because of medical advances, are now uncommon. And if Clowney doesn’t suffer a career-ending injury – which, again, he is unlikely to suffer – then his family will have no problem paying back the money it spent on this insurance policy.
“The impetus behind (the NCAA’s insurance program) was really to keep student-athletes and their eligibility safe from unscrupulous agents,” Juanita Sheely, the NCAA’s associate director for travel and insurance, told AL.com in 2010. “One of the ways they would entice them is: ‘I will get you this insurance coverage if you sign with me.’ So (we decided to) provide this service so they don’t feel like they have to break the rules to do it.”
If you want to read more on what the NCAA has to say about its insurance policies, click here.
Clowney had a few other things to say after practice and here they are …
** As for all the attention he has gotten recently, he said, “I’ve just been really not paying attention. Just been working out and going to class.”
** The conversation about whether it would be a good idea for him to sit out in 2013 was completely created by media. It wasn’t something Clowney ever considered, but he did hear about the hubbub surrounding the debate, as it were.
“I never thought of that,” he said of sitting out. “I just play around with the boys (his teammates), like, ‘If I ever break the sack record here, I’m going to sit out.’ Nah.”
What did Clowney think when he heard the chatter about sitting out?
“I was just like surprised,” he said. “But then the guys (teammates) started calling like, ‘You know they’re talking about you.’ I’m like, ‘What are they saying?’ ‘That you should sit out.’ I was like, ‘Nah, you know I ain’t doing that. My momma would go crazy if I sit out.’ I didn’t really pay it any more attention after that.”
** Clowney said he weighs 273 pounds – 13 more than last year – but that he ran about 4.54 seconds in the 40-yard dash during offseason testing, no slower than he previously ran during college.
“It’s about the same as I’ve been running,” he said. “Well, not until I got to college. It was a little faster in high school. I just want to keep my speed up. I don’t want to gain weight and then get slower. I put on like 12 pounds, 13 pounds and I’m still running the same speed. It’s pretty good.”
** Ward has already talked to Clowney about what he wants to see from him in 2013.
Said Clowney, of their conversations: “He’s trying to say to me, ‘Don’t come out here and play not to get injured so I can just leave. Just come out here and do what I’ve been doing since I got here and play hard every play.’”
** He brushed off the notion that it’s hard for him not to look ahead to next year’s likely NFL riches.
“I’m used to it,” he said. “I’ve been in this program two years and I’m just rolling with it now. I’m going to be ready for (all the attention before the 2013 season). I’m just really going to deal with it and keep playing like I’ve been playing, 100 percent, just try to go out there and do better than I did last year.”
** He does believe a better year is in store for him in 2013.
“I got a lot faster this year (in 2012, as compared to 2011),” he said. “I knew what was going on out there on the field. I knew what to expect out of every player, so I got pretty faster. And this year, I know what to expect. I know what it’s going to be like. So I expect this year to be better than last year. I expect it to be bigger than it was last year.”
Clowney had 13 sacks and 23½ tackles for loss last year. For his career, he has 21 sacks and 35½ tackles for loss. The USC career sacks record is 29 and the tackles for loss record is 54½.
Clowney was asked about eclipsing the 27 sacks that Alabama’s Derrick Thomas had during the 1988 season. That is considered to be the FBS record, though sacks have not been kept forever.
“I’m going to try to break that, hopefully,” Clowney said of Thomas’ 27.
When asked, Clowney said he did not remember Thomas, a Pro Football Hall of Famer who died in 2000, six days before Clowney turned seven years old.
And with that, even the younger reporters in the crowd around Clowney winced, suddenly feeling very old.