Friday, January 4, 2013


So a teenager is driving along with his adult father in the passenger seat and two teenage siblings in the back seat.  He hears his cell phone chime, indicating that he has a new text message, and takes his eyes off the road to check it.  He has done this before and is rather careless behind the wheel--something his father probably knew about already, only this time he T-bones a van occupied by six people.  All six are injured, a few critically, but all will make a full physical recovery.  Emotional and mental scars may last forever, but they all lived.  Lucky for the teenager.

He’s arrested and charged, and the judge suspends his driving privileges for a period of 15 years.  Prosecutors want the adult father charged as well, and the police and prosecutors and entire judicial system goes back and forth on whether or not the father has committed a crime.  The father claimed he had no idea why his son reached for the cell phone—he hadn’t even heard the text message—and so why should he be at fault?  Prosecutors still push, and he is ultimately arrested and charged with negligence and is awaiting trial.

Several months after all this happens (but prior to the father being convicted of any wrongdoing), the father gets a letter from his insurance company.  The letter barely mentions the teenage driver, and instead states that the father and his two other children who were merely passengers in the car will now be forced to pay $20,000 per year, and that this is a mandatory fee.  They will also never be permitted to own cell phones, will always have to drive with both hands on the steering wheel, must only drive lime green 1994 Geo Metros for a period of four years, as well as several other unreasonable mandates.  Failure to do so will result in a complete and total ban of insurance by both the insurance company and any other insurers.  In other words, if they don’t comply, they can all kiss their driving privileges goodbye.

The father has money, and he knows that if he fights the insurance company and loses, his children will suffer.  Trying to minimize damages, he pays the fee and buys lime green 1994 Geo Metros for his two other technologically-deprived teenage children.

Yeah, this would never happen.  It’s just too bizarre, right?  Not for Penn State students, faculty, and alumni.  I don’t care much for Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett and his politics, but his reasons for filing a lawsuit against the NCAA seem sound to me.

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