NCAA says has no 'legal duty' to protect student-athletes in lawsuit response

Sheely, 22, died in 2011 after collapsing at a Frostburg State football practice. Photo: FSU

(WJLA) - The NCAA is denying that it has the legal duty to protect its student athletes, according to a court filing obtained by the Washington Times in connection to a wrongful death suit involving a Maryland football player.

The family of Derek Sheely, the Frostburg State University football player who collapsed and died in 2011 after sustaining a head injury, is suing the NCAA, several school staff members and the manufacturer of the helmet he was wearing while he played.

In response to the suit, the NCAA claims that it has no legal duty to protect athletes; rather, the Times reports that the NCAA claims that those responsibilities lie with the universities themselves.

"Under the NCAA Constitution, each member institution is responsible for protecting the health of its student-athletes and that for decades it had provided appropriate information and guidance on concussions to its member institutions," the NCAA says in its filing.

Sheely, 22, died as a result of head injuries sustained during full speed drills, the family's lawsuit claims.