UCF wrongful death lawsuit might now include NCAA infraction

Lawyers representing the family of a former Central Florida player in a high-profile wrongful death lawsuit are asking an appeals court to consider the school's lack of institutional control charge by the NCAA, the Orlando Sentinel has reported.

Inserting an NCAA infractions decision into such a legal matter would be considered a first.

The University of Central Florida Athletic Association was found guilty of negligence in the death of former player Ereck Plancher in July 2011. Plancher collapsed during an offseason conditioning drill in March 2008 and later died due to complications from sickle cell trait. His family was awarded $10 million, plus the school was liable for the attorney fees that could push the total near $14 million.

Central Florida's insurance company, Great American, appealed. Florida and Florida State attached their names to the appeal in an amicus brief as friends of the court, CBSSports.com reported last year.

Unrelated to the court case, in July the NCAA cited Central Florida for lack of institutional control for wide-ranging violations in football and basketball. Football coach George O'Leary was not named; however, his program was hit with a one-year bowl ban that was later appealed. Former AD Keith Tribble resigned during the NCAA investigation in November 2011.

According to the Sentinel, the Plancher family's attorneys have said the NCAA case shows that Central Florida president John Hitt “does not necessarily have sufficient control over the University of Central Florida Athletic Association.”

Lack of institutional control is considered one of the worst charges by the NCAA. It is what is alleged by the NCAA in the current Miami/Nevin Shapiro case.

Anyone in need of a credential from all the BCS title games? Dennis Dodd has them. In three decades in the business, he's covered everything from the Olympics to Stanley Cup to conference realignment. Just get him on campus in a press box in the fall. His heart lies with college football.
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