Former Oregon Ducks football player Doug Brenner loses lawsuit against NCAA; Legal team says it will appeal Friday’s decision

Former Oregon offensive lineman Doug Brenner lost his lawsuit against the NCAA on Friday when a jury found the NCAA negligent but did not award Brenner any of the $100 million he was seeking in punitive damages. for injuries sustained during a controversial workout in 2017.

Brenner’s lawyers argued that his injuries occurred because the NCAA does not have a specific rule or regulation about overplaying players during practice, but the jury does not believe the NCAA’s negligence contributed to them.

Jason Kafoury, one of Brenner’s attorneys, said he would appeal.

“We hope this case is a shot at the NCAA’s bow and that it furthers the effort to protect student-athletes from preventable injuries and deaths,” said Kafoury. “To have a case of this magnitude decided so technically is a tragedy.”

“If the NCAA doesn’t change the rules,” he said, “they’re looking at a lot of future lawsuits because we showed in the case that they were notified and that if they don’t act now, then they really are reckless.”

An NCAA spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.

The NCAA has argued that it does not have the authority to pass health and safety regulations – member schools and conferences are responsible for the health and safety of players.

“The plaintiffs appear to allege that the dozens of guidelines and best practices found in the 140-page Manual of Sports Medicine related to the conduct of exercises should be subject to monitoring, investigation and enforcement,” the NCAA wrote in its opposition. “That’s impractical.”

The University of Oregon has reached a $500,000 settlement with Brenner for damages related to his hospitalization, a school spokesperson told ESPN on Friday.

As part of the Oregon settlement, Brenner dismissed claims against former Oregon head coach Willie Taggart, now the Florida Atlantic head coach, and his former strength coach Irele Oderinde. A source from South Florida, where Oderinde most recently worked, told ESPN on Friday night that Oderinde is no longer employed as strength coach for the women’s basketball team, but was fired for reasons unrelated to what happened in Oregon. .

Still, Brenner referenced Oderinde losing her job in a statement he provided to Oregon.

“The events surrounding this lawsuit happened years ago,” Brenner said in a statement shared with ESPN. “As competitors, we all know that in the heat of battle, things are said and done during competition, whether it’s on the training ground, on the playing field or in a lawsuit. It happened years ago. After hearing the trainer’s testimony T and Coach O, I now understand that the workouts that got us here were conceived as team-building exercises that got out of hand.”

Law firm Kafoury & McDougal filed the suit on Brenner’s behalf in January 2019 in circuit court in the state of Oregon. Brenner was seeking $20 million in non-economic damages and $5.5 million in economic damages in her claims against Oregon, Taggart and Oderinde. The trial began on April 12.

Oderinde, who was later signed by Taggart from Florida State to the same position, was suspended by Oregon in 2017 for one month without pay after tight end Cam McCormick and offensive lineman Sam Poutasi were hospitalized with Brenner and suffered from rhabdomyolysis as training results. held shortly after Taggart was hired in Oregon.

According to the lawsuit, the workout lasted 60 to 90 minutes, and the team “did not make water available in the gym on at least the first day of practice.” The lawsuit also states that about 40 players in each group had to do “10 perfect push-ups in unison”, and if one of the athletes was out of sync with the rest or couldn’t use perfect technique, all players had to do it up. -downs and start the drill again.

Brenner, McCormick and Poutasi rejoined the team after their hospitalizations, but the incident prompted Oregon to change its reporting system, with the strength and conditioning coach reporting to the Ducks’ director of performance and sports science rather than the head coach.

“I’m sorry for the incident that happened, but I’m glad that many ‘truths’ emerged during the process,” Taggart said Thursday in a statement to ESPN. “Now my full focus is on getting back to our FAU football family and our student-athletes.”

According to the Oregonian, the university, Taggart and Oderinde all claimed during the trial that the drills were excessive but not intended to be punitive. Oderinde apologized during her testimony last week, according to the Oregonian.

“You never want kids to get hurt in any way, especially in practice or even practice,” Oderinde said Thursday, according to the Oregonian. “But at the same time, you want to push the kids and you want to push them safely. I feel like with today’s result, I believe Doug understands that our intention was never that, it was to build young men and build a team.”


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