Being an NCAA athlete is awesome and everything, but if you twist your ankle—or something much worse—there's a good chance your school's health insurance won't cover you. Now put some tape on that and get back in there!
The New York Times has the sob stories of several college athletes who suffered severe, sometimes debilitating injuries, but then got stuck with the medical bills, because the school that recruited them to compete on their behalf wouldn't cover it. As you might imagine, it's the small, financially challenged schools—where athletes probably don't have full rides to begin with—that suffer the most. You could get a head transplant at Michigan State (probably from a med student, but still), whereas at Wisconsin's smaller D-III campus you're lucky to get Band-Aids.
In typical NCAA fashion, they have mandated that colleges insure all their athletes, but didn't bother to set guidelines for how much coverage they need—or give them money to do it. So most budget-strapped schools have opted for very little coverage. Power conferences, with huge TV contracts, do a pretty good job. The rest don't.
Spalding University, in Louisville, Ky., also pays for secondary coverage for athletes. "These young men and young women are representing your institution," said Charlie Just, the compliance director there. "Ethically, I think it's the right thing to do."
Well, that's nice. Of course, Spalding is a private school with no contact sports so ethics don't cost them a lot of money. Didn't Obama fix this already?