Please use the attached case files and then answer the following questions for each paper. Please provide three separate files for each of them. 

MacEwan Residency Service

What are the risks involved with choosing to hire, or not hire, Benson?
For the risks identified in question 1, rate each as high, medium, or low. If you perceive any of these risks as occurring more or less frequently, or newly occurring in the last two decades, label those risks as “Changing over Time.”
Is the requirement to physically respond to an intruder, evacuation order, or other emergency a bona fide occupational requirement?
Do the accommodation requirements for Benson represent undue hardship to MacEwan’s Residence Services?
Based on questions 1 to 3, develop a position statement for hiring Benson and a position statement for not hiring Benson. Which position do you perceive as being strongest?
What other options does Galloway have besides hiring or not hiring Benson?
What changes or safeguards could be made in the selection process to ensure that future selection decisions are discrimination-proof?

Volkswagen

Was there anything about the culture at VW that could have contributed to the implementation of a defeat device?
Was there an effective CSR program in place to catch this violation?
How did VW approach market competition considering the methods of other diesel manufacturers?
How did VW’s business model match its sustainability strategy?
What role did environmental and social responsibility play in VW’s decision-making?
How does the government play a role in business and the environment?
Should governments regulate companies in order to protect the environment? Even if it may stifle economic growth?
What have companies besides VW done in order to incorporate environment and social outcomes in their business strategies?
If health concerns and deaths could be linked to NOx emissions, should criminal charges be brought against the company? How far up in the organizational hierarchy should prosecution go?
Were VW’s sustainability initiatives an example of green-washing?

The NFL

Do you think the NFL and franchise owners are meeting their obligations to employee health and safety?
Do you think that the NFL’s and owners’ responsibilities in terms of player safety and health have changed now that the potential long-term health risks of playing football are more widely understood?
Do you think that the changes made in terms of rules, quipmetn, and player health assessments to date have been sufficient?
There are analogies made in the case between football and smoking. Do you believe that in 25 years, the state of professional football will be similar to that of cigarette companies today?
If you were the owner of an NFL franchise team, would you look to sell your team, or do you think the NFL will continue as a viable and profitable business?
Please be sure to read the case Appendix as it contains information essential to the class discussion.

9-815-071

R E V : S E P T E M B E R 5 , 2 0 1 7

Professor Richard G. Hamermesh and Case Researcher Matthew G. Preble (Case Research & Writing Group) prepared this case. This case was
developed from published sources. Funding for the development of this case was provided by Harvard Business School and not by the company.
HBS cases are developed solely as the basis for class discussion. Cases are not intended to serve as endorsements, sources of primary data, or
illustrations of effective or ineffective management.

Copyright © 2014, 2015, 2017 President and Fellows of Harvard College. To order copies or request permission to reproduce materials, call 1-800-
545-7685, write Harvard Business School Publishing, Boston, MA 02163, or go to www.hbsp.harvard.edu. This publication may not be digitized,
photocopied, or otherwise reproduced, posted, or transmitted, without the permission of Harvard Business School.

R I C H A R D G . H A M E R M E S H

M A T T H E W G . P R E B L E

The National Football League and Brain Injuries

The National Footballa League (NFL) was both the most popular spectator sport in the U.S. and a
major economic entity, taking in roughly $10 billion a year in revenue.1 Its annual championship
game, the Super Bowl, was a hugely popular television event. Super Bowl XLVIII, held in February
2014, was watched by 111.5 million people, making it “the most-watched television event in U.S.
history,” according to the NFL.2

Injuries were expected in the NFL due to the game’s physical nature, and players routinely missed
games or an entire season while recovering. However, beginning in the late 20th century and
accelerating through the 2000s and 2010s, there was an increased interest in the long-term effect of
head injuries on NFL players. Medical professionals and some retired players were particularly
concerned about the number of deceased football players found to have chronic traumatic encephalo-
pathy (CTE), a brain disease that caused behavioral problems, dementia,b and depression, among
other potential health issues.3

One former player died of a drug overdose at age 45 and was later found to have had CTE and
Alzheimer’s disease.4 His wife described the changes she saw in her husband: “The most obvious
was the depression. . . . Then he was having difficulty engaging. He wasn’t keeping in touch with his
childhood friends, his college friends, people that he had maintained very strong relationships
with. . . . When this all began and when it became extreme, and when it became severe is really hard
to go back and know for sure. . . . He just really stopped engaging in life.”5

In June 2012, over 2,000 retired players sued the NFL over head injuries.6 “The NFL must open its
eyes to the consequences of its actions. . . . The NFL has the power not only to give former players the
care they deserve, but also to ensure that future generations of football players do not suffer the way
that many in my generation have,” said one former player.7 The lawsuit alleged, in part, that “[t]he
NFL, as the organizer, marketer, and face of the most popular sport in the United States, in which
[mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI)] is a regular occurrence and in which players are at risk for

a In this case study, football refers to American football and not to the sport known in the U.S. as soccer.

b Dementia was “a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Memory loss is an
example. Alzheimer’s [disease] is the most common type of dementia.” Alzheimer’s Association, “What Is Dementia,”
http://www.alz.org/what-is-dementia.asp, accessed June 2014.

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http://www.alz.org/what-is-dementia.asp

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MTBI, was aware of the evidence and the risks associated with repetitive traumatic brain injuries
virtually at the inception, but deliberately ignored and actively concealed the information from the
Plaintiffs and all others who participated in organized football at all levels.”8

In June 2014, the lawsuit seemed to be drawing to a close, nearly a full year after the two sides had
agreed on a $765 million settlement.9 This delay was due to concerns from the judge overseeing the
case regarding its terms.10 It would still be a few months before the judge gave her final approval.11
The settlement only applied to retired players and not to those currently in the NFL.12,c

This was a pivotal moment for the owners of the 32 independently owned teams that made up the
NFL. The settlement resolved the NFL’s issues with retired players but raised new questions
regarding what to do about current and future players. Could players be safely protected from
serious harm through equipment innovations, rules changes, or by having players sign waivers to
protect the NFL from future legal action?

Or, was this the beginning of a long-term trend leading to the eventual decline of public support
and the league’s profitability? If the parents of aspiring players—part of the extensive youth- and
college-football systems that underpinned American football—decided that the game was just too
dangerous for their children to play, this would have a tremendous impact on the NFL in terms of
both talent coming into the league and public support. “I can’t keep my boys . . . safe from
everything. But there’s just certain things that I think are obvious ones to stay away from, and
increasingly, I think football is one of those things,” noted one father.13

NFL teams were valuable and profitable businesses (see Exhibits 1 and 2). As an owner, was this
the right time to sell before declining attendance, viewership, and fan support affected the NFL’s
economic viability? (See the Appendix for background information on football and the NFL.)

Concussions and Brain Injuries

A concussion occurred when the brain came in contact with the skull at a high rate of speed.14
Concussions varied in severity but could result in symptoms including amnesia, confusion, difficulty
sleeping, and trouble concentrating.15 Concussions were a traumatic brain injury (TBI), and the U.S.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that “TBI symptoms may appear mild, but the
injury can lead to significant life-long impairment affecting an individual’s memory, behavior,
learning, and/or emotions.”16 This was echoed by the Mayo Clinic, which said that “[e]vidence is
emerging that some people who have had multiple concussions over the course of their lives are at
greater risk of developing lasting, and even progressive, impairment that limits their ability to
function.”17 Rest was critical: “Resuming sports too soon increases the risk of a second concussion
and of lasting, potentially fatal brain injury. . . . No one should return to play or vigorous activity
while signs or symptoms of a concussion are present. Experts recommend that adults, children, and
adolescents not return to play on the same day as the injury,” Mayo Clinic staff noted.18

The long-term effects of head injuries were first noticed in the 1920s when a doctor observed a
neurological condition in retired boxers.19 The term “punch drunk” was used to describe these
individuals.20 This syndrome was a form of CTE.21 CTE was a brain disease seen in people who
sustained multiple head injuries, including those minor enough to go undetected—known as

c The lawsuit was settled in April 2015 and allowed retired players to access as much as $1 billion from the NFL. Associated
Press, “Judge OKs 65-Year Deal Over NFL Concussions That Could Cost $1B,” Time, April 22, 2015,
http://time.com/3831859/nfl-concussion-lawsuit-deal/?xid=newsletter-brief, accessed May 2015.

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2020 to Jan 2021.

http://time.com/3831859/nfl-concussion-lawsuit-deal/?xid=newsletter-brief

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“subconcussive” injuries.22 The disease gradually destroyed brain tissue and caused the
accumulation of a specific protein in the brain.23 According to one center focused on the disease,
people with CTE could suffer from neurological and behavioral health issues, including “memory
loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, and,
eventually, progressive dementia.”24 Disease onset followed no specific timeline.25

The cost of care for individuals with neurodegenerative diseases could be quite high; the authors
of one study found that “[t]he yearly monetary cost per person that was attributable to dementia was
either $56,290 . . . or $41,689 . . . depending on the method used to value informal care.”26 The life
expectancy of a dementia patient varied, but it was estimated that the average person with
Alzheimer’s disease (a form of dementia) could live for as long as 10 years post-diagnosis.27

Injuries in the NFL

Each team had (on average) four athletic trainers, two orthopedists, two primary care physicians,
one chiropractor, and one neuro-trauma consultant present at each game.28 In addition, there was one
independent athletic trainer, one ophthalmologist, one dentist, one radiology technician (for X-rays),
one airway management physician, and two EMTs/paramedics at each game.29

The odds of being injured varied, with quarterbacks being by far the least likely to be injured,
while running backs and players on special teams (e.g., those involved in kick- or punt-returns) were
the most commonly injured players.30 Players were most likely to injure their “lower leg/ankle/foot”
(26% of all injuries), though the quarterback was most likely to injure his shoulder (17%).31 These
injuries often affected players throughout their lives. In one poll of retired players, 89% said that they
“[suffered] from aches and pains on a daily basis”; of these players, 63% attributed “nearly all of
them” and 29% attributed “most of them” to football.32

Head Injuries in the NFL

The authors of one studyd used the NFL’s data of 787 reported concussions from 1996 to 2001 to
determine that “[t]here were 0.41 concussions per [NFL] game.”33 Furthermore, the authors found
that “[i]n 58 of the reported cases (9.3%), the players lost consciousness; 19 players (2.4%) were
hospitalized. A total of 92% of concussed players returned to practice in less than 7 days, but that
value decreased to 69% with unconsciousness. . . . More than one-half of the players returned to play
within 1 day, and symptoms resolved in short time in the vast majority of cases.”34

During the 2013 preseason and regular season, NFL players sustained a total of 228 concussions
(see Table A).35 Nearly half were from the injured player’s helmet coming into contact with that of
another player—a helmet-to-helmet hit.36 The next most likely source of a concussion (15%) was from
a player’s head hitting the ground.37 (See Exhibit 3 for concussions by player position.) The vast
majority of ex-players surveyed in one 2013 poll reported experiencing at least one concussion while
in the NFL, and 35% had at least five concussions.38 Of those who had a concussion, 67% believed
they had “continuing symptoms as a result.”39

d The authors of this study were also members of the NFL’s Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee.

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Table A Concussions in the NFL, 2011 to 2013 (preseason and regular season)

Year Practice Game Total
2011 37 215 252
2012 45 216 261
2013 43 185 228
3 Year Average 41.7 205.3 247.0

Source: John York, Mitchel S. Berger, Matthew Matava, and Jeff Miller, “Super Bowl XLVIII Health and Safety Press
Conference,” PowerPoint presentation, January 2014, p. 3, http://nfllabor.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/hs-press-
conference.pdf, accessed May 2014.

The NFL’s Response to Head Injuries

In the mid-1990s, the NFL formed the Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee (MTBIC).40 Dr.
Elliot Pellman, a rheumatologiste and physician for the New York Jets, was selected to lead the
effort.41 “Concussions are part of the profession, an occupational risk . . . like a steelworker who goes
up 100 stories, or a soldier,” Pellman said.42 Members of the MTBIC authored multiple research
papers, the first of which was published in 2003.43 The members arrived at such findings as: “[M]any
NFL players can be safely allowed to return to play on the day of injury after sustaining an MTBI.”44
In another study, the authors found that

[T]here may be a different tolerance level for concussion between professional and
nonprofessional athletes. The level of conditioning and skill necessary for success in the
NFL may result in an overall sample pool of athletes who are less prone to
injury. . . . There may be a “natural selection” process in professional football whereby
athletes who are easily injured do not successfully rise through the ranks of high school
to collegiate football to the NFL without resilience to cerebral concussion.45

Other professionals disagreed. One group of doctors and researchers studied the brain of a former
NFL player who had shown signs of neurological problems before his death at age 50 from a heart
attack.46 The authors found evidence of CTE in his brain and said that “[t]his case highlights potential
long-term neurodegenerative outcomes in retired [NFL] Players subjected to repeated [MTBI]. . . . We
recommend comprehensive clinical and forensic approaches to understand and further elucidate this
emergent professional sport hazard.”47 A later examination of brain tissue from another ex-NFL
player, who committed suicide at age 45, also revealed evidence of CTE.48

One neurosurgeon highlighted the limitations of the MTBIC’s studies, observing that its work
focused only on current players, who were thus unlikely to have symptoms of CTE.49 An assessment
of the NFL’s efforts by the ex-players suing the league was more critical: “The NFL propagated its
own industry funded and falsified research to support its position . . . despite the fact that
independent medical scientists had already come to the opposite conclusion.”50

e “The role of the rheumatologist is to diagnose (detect), treat and medically manage patients with arthritis and other
rheumatic diseases. These health problems affect the joints, muscles, bones and sometimes other internal organs (e.g., kidneys,
lungs, blood vessels, brain).” “What Is a Rheumatologist?” American College and Rheumatology, updated August 2012,
http://www.rheumatology.org/Practice/Clinical/Patients/What_is_a_Rheumatologist_/, accessed June 2014.

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http://nfllabor.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/hs-press-conference.pdf

http://www.rheumatology.org/Practice/Clinical/Patients/What_is_a_Rheumatologist_/

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Retired Players’ Deaths and the Focus on CTE

Broader interest in the long-term effects of head injuries was piqued in part by the suicides of
several ex-players. In late 2006, Andre Waters, a retired 12-season veteran known for his physical
style of play, killed himself at age 44.51 One observer, describing the reaction of the doctor who
examined Waters’s brain, said that it “had degenerated into that of an 85-year-old man with similar
characteristics as those of early-stage Alzheimer’s victims.”52

In early 2011, Dave Duerson committed suicide at age 50.53 Before doing so, he left a note saying,
“Please, see that my brain is given to the [NFL]’s brain bank.”54 Analysis of his brain showed that
Duerson had CTE.55 Ray Easterling, an ex-player in his 60s with dementia, in late 2011 became one of
the first people to sue the NFL over head injuries.56 A few months later, Easterling killed himself;
analysis of his brain revealed CTE.57

One of the more shocking suicides was that of 43-year-old Junior Seau in May 2012.58 Seau played
from 1990 to 2009, during which time he was named to 12 Pro Bowls as one of the league’s best
linebackers.59 He too was later found to have had CTE.60 “We saw changes in his behavior and things
that didn’t add up with him . . . ,” Seau‘s ex-wife said. “But [CTE]f was not something we considered
or even were aware of. . . . [Now] that it has been conclusively determined from every expert that he
had obviously had CTE, we just hope it is taken more seriously. You can’t deny it exists, and it is
hard to deny there is a link between head trauma and CTE.”61

As researchers examined more brain tissue from ex-football players, it became clear that a number
of them had CTE. One group of researchers studied the brains of eight deceased ex-professional
football players, none of whom were older than 52; seven had CTE.62 A 2012 study revealed even
stronger linkages: 34 of 35 deceased professional footballers studied had varying stages of CTE.63

The NFL Reacts

While this was all unfolding, the NFL started taking action. It sponsored a conference on
concussions in 2007 and drafted a pamphlet on the issue.64 In discussing long-term effects, the
pamphlet stated that “[current] research with professional athletes has not shown that having more
than one or two concussions leads to permanent problems if each injury is managed properly. . . .
Research is currently underway to determine if there are any long-term effects of concussion in NFL
athletes.”65 The league worked with the NFL Players Association (NFLPA, the union representing
players) to determine how concussed players should be managed and outlined four key points.66 The
first was that “[t]he player should be completely asymptomatic and have normal neurological test
results, including mental status testing at rest and after physical exertion, before returning to play.”67
However, in January 2010, Dr. Ira Casson, a former co-chairman of the MTBIC, said that “there is not
enough valid, reliable or objective scientific evidence at present to determine whether or not repeat
head impacts in professional football result in long-term brain damage.”68

In late 2009, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell appeared before a congressional committee and
defended the NFL.69 “We have published every piece of data in the [NFL]. We have published it
publicly, we have given it to medical journals, it has been part of peer review. We don’t control those
doctors. They are medical professionals,” he said of the NFL’s research efforts.70 A few months later,
an NFL spokesman said that “[it’s] quite obvious from the medical research that’s been done that
concussions can lead to long-term problems.”71

f The brackets were in the original text.

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Under the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the NFL and the NFLPA in 2011,
players could receive up to $100,000 a year towards their care if they developed Amyotrophic Lateral
Sclerosis (ALS), dementia, or Parkinson’s disease.72 The 2011 CBA also contained a provision to
extend benefits to players “who have a permanent, neuro-cognitive impairment.”73 Only certain
players qualified for these benefits though; they had to be 54 years old or younger and “have
executed a release of claims and covenants not to sue.”74 Furthermore, players could receive these
benefits for a maximum of 15 years, or until they turned 55.75

Beyond Football

The NFL was not the only professional sports league involved in the head injury discussion.
Athletes from the National Hockey League (NHL) sustained a total of 53 concussions during the
2013–2014 regular season.76 The NHL had rules regarding when an athlete could resume playing
following a suspected concussion, but players were not always forthcoming about head injuries.
“Guys downplay the symptoms or don’t report them because of job security and they don’t want to
lose their spot. . . . And, guys want to keep playing because they want [to] help their team. In the back
of our minds, too, you don’t want other teams to know you have a head injury,” one player
explained.77 In 2014, the NHL was facing a lawsuit from 200 retired athletes regarding head
injuries.78

The Lawsuit
In June 2012, some 2,000 retired players united their separate legal efforts against the NFL

regarding head injuries into one lawsuit.79 The lawsuit also targeted entities the players believed held
some responsibility, such as Riddell, Inc., which made helmets for the NFL.80 “The case seeks a
declaration of liability, injunctive relief, medical monitoring, and financial compensation for the long-
term chronic injuries, financial losses, expenses, and intangible losses suffered by the Plaintiffs and
Plaintiffs’ Spouses as a result of the Defendants’ intentional tortious misconduct, including fraud,
intentional misrepresentation, and negligence,” the players said in the lawsuit.81

The lawsuit accused the league of misleading players: “The NFL caused or contributed to the
injuries and increased risks to Plaintiffs through its acts and omissions by, among other things: (a)
historically ignoring the true risks of MTBI in NFL football; (b) failing to disclose the true risks of
repetitive MTBI to NFL players; and (c) since 1994, deliberately spreading misinformation concerning
the cause and effect relationship between MTBI in NFL football and latent neurodegenerative
disorders and diseases.”82 The plaintiffs also accused the NFL of encouraging violent play.83

In August 2013, the two parties reached a $765 million settlement, by which time the lawsuit
included roughly 4,500 ex-players.84 The NFL did not admit to any wrongdoing, which Goodell
noted was “[because] we don’t believe there is a [sic] any guilt here. We don’t believe necessarily that
this is caused by football, but we all want to do what’s right for the players. . . . The cause is not the
issue for us. It’s to get them help.”85 Most of the money ($675 million) was earmarked for those with
ALS, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or “severe cognitive impairment.”86 The amount awarded
varied by condition.87 All retired players were eligible for these funds.88 Another $75 million was for
diagnostic medical exams; $10 million for education and research; $4 million to inform retired
players; and the remainder for legal and administrative compensation, expenses, and fees.89

In January 2014, the judge overseeing the case declined to approve the deal, believing there might
not be enough money for all retirees.90 This happened again in April 2014 when the judge wanted
further proof that the money was sufficient to pay out claims over the fund’s intended 65-year

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lifespan.91 The settlement was amended in June 2014 so that the retired players could potentially
receive more than the $675 million initially set aside for them.92 The judge agreed, though it would
still be a few months before the settlement was finalized and approved.93

Player Opinions
Despite increased awareness about head injuries, players were far from unanimous on what—if

anything—to do. For some, other injuries were more important.94 In a poll of nearly 300 current
players conducted between December 2013 and January 2014, nearly half of respondents were “most
concerned” about a knee or leg injury, while just 24% were “most concerned” about a head or neck
injury.95 “Anytime you can avoid hits to the head it’s great . . . but if you get hit in your knees, that’s
your career,” one player explained.96 “A head injury? Don’t get me wrong, that’s bad. No one wants
a concussion. But, here and now, a knee injury can be career-ending,” said another.97

The physical and mental toughness that many players associated with football might lead some to
act against the best interest of their health: “This culture encourages NFL players to play despite a
head injury. Moreover, failure to play through such an injury creates the risk that the NFL player will
lose playing time, a starting position, and possibly a career,” noted the retired players in their
lawsuit.98 These observations were echoed by a former player agent: “I watched athletes I
represented play with collapsed lungs; I watched them completely fight with doctors at every time to
get into the game; I watched players deceive coaches on the sidelines when they were injured and run
back into a game.”99 In a January 2014 poll of over 300 active players, 85% “said they would play in
the Super Bowl with a concussion.”100

The Federal Government’s Responsibilities?
The U.S. Congress had created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

within the Department of Labor in 1970 to “assure safe and healthful working conditions for working
men and women.”101 OSHA achieved this through education, inspections, training, testing, and
various other means.102 Employees of OSHA-regulated companies had the right to ask for a
workplace inspection if they felt that a safety issue was being ignored.103 OSHA inspectors could cite
employers and mandate that a safety issue be addressed.104 The agency did not, however, have the
authority to protect independent contractors.105 And with just 2,200 inspectors, OSHA had few
employees to enforce its standards, and the fines it could levy were limited to $7,000 for “each serious
violation” or $70,000 “for a repeated or willful violation.”106

OSHA generally did not investigate professional sports because it did not view professional
athletes as private-sector workers.107 In one letter, an OSHA official said that “I am not aware of any
formal OSHA interpretation or any directly relevant case law on whether players on professional
sports teams should be considered independent contractors or employees. . . . This determination
must be made on a case-by-case basis.”108 Another official stated that “[i]n most cases . . . OSHA does
not take enforcement action with regard to professional athletes.”109 Furthermore, the Department of
Labor included professional athletes in the same category—performing arts, spectator sports, and
related industries—as actors, musicians, and writers in tracking injuries.110 This made it challenging
to parse out how often players were injured and where these injuries occurred. There were 5.5
injuries or illnesses for every 100 employees in this group in 2012.111 By comparison, the
manufacturing industry had a rate of 4.3 per 100 employees in 2012, and mining, a rate of 2.8.112

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None of this precluded OSHA from becoming more involved in monitoring professional football
though. As one observer noted: “With regard to the issue of head-trauma cases involving former
players, considering the breadth and magnitude of the problem . . . it is likely the agency [OSHA] will
look into this issue, especially given the magnitude of former players who have sued the NFL and the
recent high-profile deaths of players such as Easterling, Dave Duerson, and Junior Seau.”113

Non-Professional Football
By the time players arrived in the NFL, most had already played football for many years. Over 3

million people between the ages of 6 and 18 played organized tackle football in 2012.114 In the U.S. for
the 2012–2013 academic year, over 14,500 high schools had an 11-player football team,g and 1,088,158
students participated.115 Football was the most popular sport played by high school boys.116

High school football games were often community events. “If you think about where people are
on Friday nights in areas like the South and Midwest, they are at their local high school football
game,” one academic noted.117 High school sports were increasingly broadcast on television, and
some broadcast deals were in the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars.118 A few schools
spent lavishly on their programs.119 Allen, Texas—home to roughly 84,000 people in 2010—
constructed a $60 million football stadium in 2012.120

College Football

Collegiate football rivaled the NFL in terms of economic and cultural influence. This was
particularly true in the southeastern U.S., where the sport was popular as a point of regional pride
because of the historical lack of professional sports teams.121 “[In] the South, football is a religion, and
Saturday [when most college football games were played] is the holy day,” said one former coach.122
College football was popular across the country, and schools such as the University of Alabama, Ohio
State University, Pennsylvania State University, Stanford, the University of Michigan, and the
University of Notre Dame all had prominent football programs. College football served as a feeder
program to the NFL, and 80,000 student-athletes played collegiate football.123

Some college programs rivaled NFL teams in terms of the revenue they generated. The University
of Texas at Austin’s Texas Longhorns football team had revenues of $109 million in 2012, the
University of Alabama’s Crimson Tide had revenues of $89 million, and the University of Notre
Dame’s Fighting Irish football team earned $78 million.124 Like the NFL, television broadcast deals
brought in substantial sums.125 In 2011, the Pac-12 Conference—which included such schools as
Stanford, the University of Oregon, and USC—agreed on a 12-year, $2.7 billion television contract.126

As concerns grew over head injuries in the NFL, the same worries took hold at the non-
professional level. College football players sustained an estimated 4,000 concussions per year.127 Over
173,000 people aged 19 and younger went to the hospital for TBIs sustained through sports or other
recreational activities annually.128 Over 70% of these athletes were male.129 Young athletes were most
likely to sustain a concussion while playing football and women’s soccer.130

g This is the number of players from each team on the field at a given time, not the total number of players on the team. Some
schools fielded smaller football teams of six, eight, or nine players on the field at a given time. A combined total of nearly
29,000 students played on these smaller teams. “NFHS Handbook 2013-14,” National Federation of State High School
Associations, 2013, p. 52, http://www.nfhs.org/content.aspx?id=6123, accessed June 2014.

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Some parents were wary about letting their children play football, and a full 40% of adults
surveyed for one poll preferred that their children not play.131 Fewer children enrolled in youth
football; the chief medical officer of the Pop Warner football league attributed this to safety
concerns.132 In 2012, two academics described the potential effect of litigation on non-professional
football: “If ex-players start winning judgments, insurance companies might cease to insure colleges
and high schools against football-related lawsuits. . . . If you are coaching a high school football team,
or refereeing a game as a volunteer, it is sobering to think that you could be hit with a $2 million
lawsuit at any point in time. A lot of people will see it as easier to just stay away.”133

The Future of the Game
Even as more football fans and the general public became aware of the issue, people were far from

united about what to do. When asked if his grandchildren played football, Harry Carson, a NFL
linebacker for 12 years, said, “I cannot in good conscience allow my grandson to play knowing what I
know.”134 Former quarterback Steve Young, an 11-year NFL veteran turned NFL commentator, when
asked if he would let his son play, said, “I would—well-coached, well-protected.”135 Brett Favre,
another ex-quarterback, said that “[i]f I had a son, I would be real leery of him playing. . . . In all
honesty I would have a hard time throwing him out there.”136 However, one poll of ex-players
showed that 46% would “recommend children today to play youth or high school football . . . ,”
while just 12% said they would “discourage them from it.”137

Even President Barack Obama weighed in on the subject in January 2013: “I’m a big football fan,
but I have to tell you if I had a son, I’d have to think long and hard before I let him play football. And
I think that those of us who love the sport are going to have to wrestle with the fact that it will
probably change gradually to try to reduce some of the violence . . . and those of us who are fans
maybe won’t have to examine our consciences quite as much.”138

A year later, Obama had strengthened his position, saying that “I would not let my son play pro
football,” before noting the responsibility he felt the players bore: “At this point, there’s a little bit of
caveat emptor. . . . These guys, they know what they’re doing. They know what they’re buying into.
It is no longer a secret. It’s sort of the feeling I have about smokers, you know?”139 This comparison
was one previously made by another observer: “We are . . . rapidly reaching the point where playing
football is like smoking cigarettes: The risks are well-known. Not that this has prevented smokers
from successfully suing tobacco companies. But, then, smoking is an addiction. Football is just an
increasingly guilty pleasure.”140 Would people come to accept that those who elected to play were
accepting potential future health risks, in the way that the health risks of other dangerous professions
were well understood? Was football being unfairly singled out?

Rules Changes

New rules were instituted to improve player safety, such as moving kickoffs up by five yards to
limit high-speed collisions.141 Beginning in the 2013 season, the NFL placed medical personnel at
each game to identify players with possible head injuries.142 The league also took action against
players for dangerous hits: during the 2013–2014 season, defensive back Dashon Goldson was
suspended one game for a helmet-to-helmet hit, and defensive back Brandon Merriweather received
a two-game suspension for multiple helmet-to-helmet hits.143

In June 2014, NFL team owners made a number of rule changes.144 This included expanding the
definition of when a player was in a “defenseless posture,” such as the moment he caught the ball,

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and preventing defensive players from “launching”h at a player with the ball.145 “There were too
many hits . . . in the past three years that were legal but not ones that we were comfortable the player
who got hit had any opportunity to do anything to protect themselves,” explained one owner.146 Also
starting in 2014, teams faced financial fines if a number of its players made illegal hits.147 The NFL
looked at changing how players positioned themselves on the field to reduce injuries, such as ending
the use of the three-point stance, which left players’ heads in an exposed position.148

Equipment Changes

NFL equipment had already changed significantly over time (see Exhibit 4), and inventors were
developing new helmets. One such helmet contained protective carbon fiber and Kevlar; another
included an internal plastic cap with space between it and the padding to better absorb impact.149 The
introduction of such a helmet in the near term was unlikely; as one observer summarized, “[most]
research to date shows that there is no concussion-proof helmet to protect against all concussions and
brain injury. In March 2013, a panel of 32 experts . . . concluded that while mouth guards and helmets
generally protect the faces and heads of athletes, they don’t do much to protect them from internal
brain damage.”150

Other companies developed technologies to identify head injuries.151 Impakt Protective’s
Shockbox detected when a user sustained a hit of a certain amount of force.152 Shockbox retailed for
$149.153 Sports apparel manufacturer Reebok and startup company MC 10 built an electronic skullcap
that users wore under their helmets; “The sensor-laden mesh cap provides colored LED readouts that
vary according to the level of impact, thus providing instant information on the gravity of the blow,”
explained one observer.154 In 2013, the NFL announced it was offering $10 million (with a maximum
single award of $1 million) to people working on solutions addressing head injuries.155

What to Do?

Despite the inherent risks of the game, some players were reluctant to see changes made. “The
way the game is played, I don’t see how you can eliminate all of those routine hits that linemen make
every play. How do you eliminate them . . . and have the game still be football?” asked one
veteran.156 Furthermore, 90% of the ex-players surveyed in one poll—in which many also noted the
health effects they believed resulted from their playing football—reported being “happy” with their
football career.157 It was equally unclear if fans wanted the game to change. “People like the violence
of it. You watch [a] pro football game, and naturally the biggest cheers are for the touchdowns. But
the second biggest cheers are for a nasty hit,” noted one sports reporter.158

New technologies and rule changes offered some hope that the game could be made safer. Despite
fan and player concerns about the integrity of football, much had already changed since football was
first created.159 “After all, little of the sport from the 1950s remained in place by the 1980s, from
strategy to equipment to rules to the players themselves,” remarked one observer.160 “The question is
how comfortable will the next generation of fans be with an NFL that is more like a seven-on-seven
passing drill than the blood-and-guts spectacle of the last 93 years?” he continued.161

For team owners, was now the right time to sell and exit the sport? Or, could the game and fan
loyalty ultimately be preserved by introducing new rules and equipment to make football safer?

h Launching was described by one observer as “leaving both feet prior to contact to spring forward and upward into an
opponent or using any part of the helmet.” Alex Marvez, “Owners Approve New Rule Changes,” Fox Sports, updated June 2,
2014, http://www.foxsports.com/nfl/story/nfl-owners-approve-new-rules-changes-defensive-players-might-not-like-052411,
accessed July 2014.

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Exhibit 1 The Five Most and Five Least Valuable NFL Teams, 2012

Ranking Team Value Revenue
Operating

Income

1 Dallas Cowboys $2.3 billion $539 million $251 million
2 New England Patriots $1.8 billion $408 million $139 million
3 Washington Redskins $1.7 billion $381 million $104 million
4 New York Giants $1.6 billion $338 million $64 million
5 Houston Texans $1.5 billion $320 million $82 million
… … … … …
28 Detroit Lions $900 million $248 million -$4 million
29 St. Louis Rams $875 million $239 million $21 million
30 Buffalo Bills $870 million $256 million $13 million
31 Jacksonville Jaguars $840 million $260 million $16 million
32 Oakland Raiders $825 million $229 million $19 million

Source: Adapted by casewriter from Mike Ozanian, “The Most Valuable NFL Teams,” Forbes, August 14, 2013,
http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikeozanian/2013/08/14/the-most-valuable-nfl-teams/, accessed April 2014.

Note: Some figures have been rounded from the numbers in the source.

Exhibit 2 Most Valuable Sports Teams in the World, 2013

Position Team Value Location Sport

1 Real Madrid $3.3 billion Spain Soccer
2 Manchester United $3.2 billion U.K. Soccer
3 Barcelona $2.6 billion Spain Soccer
4 New York Yankees $2.3 billion U.S. Baseball
5 Dallas Cowboys $2.1 billion U.S Football
6 New England Patriots $1.6 billion U.S. Football
7 Los Angeles Dodgers $1.6 billion U.S. Baseball
8 Washington Redskins $1.6 billion U.S. Football
9 New York Giants $1.5 billion U.S. Football
10 Arsenal $1.3 billion U.K. Soccer

Source: List accessible via Kurt Badenhausen, “Real Madrid Tops the World’s Most Valuable Sports Teams,” Forbes, July 15,
2013, http://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2013/07/15/real-madrid-tops-the-worlds-most-valuable-
sports-teams/, accessed April 2014.

Note: Some figures have been rounded from the numbers provided in the source.

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http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikeozanian/2013/08/14/the-most-valuable-nfl-teams/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2013/07/15/real-madrid-tops-the-worlds-most-valuable-sports-teams/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2013/07/15/real-madrid-tops-the-worlds-most-valuable-sports-teams/

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Exhibit 3 Offensive and Defensive Player Positions, and the Number of Concussions Sustained by
Position, 2012–2013

Position Number of Concussions

Offense
Wide Receiver 49
Tight End 35
Running Back 33
Guard 24
Offensive Tackle 16
Quarterback 13
Center 5
Fullback 3
Long Snapper 1

Defense:
Cornerback 49
Safety 39
Linebacker 28
Defensive End 18
Defensive Tackle 10

Source: Adapted from Jason M. Breslow, “What We’ve Learned From Two Years of Tracking NFL Concussions,” Frontline,
PBS, February 4, 2014, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sports/concussion-watch/what-weve-learned-
from-two-years-of-tracking-nfl-concussions/, accessed June 2014.

Exhibit 4 Examples of Historical Football Equipment

Source: Pro Football Hall of Fame, “Earl (Dutch) Clark,” http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/member.aspx?
PLAYER_ID=46, accessed May 2015; Pro Football Hall of Fame, “Hugh McElhenny,”
http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/member.aspx?PLAYER_ID=148, accessed May 2015; Pro Football Hall of
Fame, “Gene Upshaw,” http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/member.aspx?PLAYER_ID=220, accessed May 2015.

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http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sports/concussion-watch/what-weve-learned-from-two-years-of-tracking-nfl-concussions/

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sports/concussion-watch/what-weve-learned-from-two-years-of-tracking-nfl-concussions/

http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/member.aspx?PLAYER_ID=46

http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/member.aspx?PLAYER_ID=46

http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/member.aspx?PLAYER_ID=148

http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/member.aspx?PLAYER_ID=220

The National Football League and Brain Injuries 815-071

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Appendix: Backround on Football and the NFL

The NFL comprised 32 teams (all independently owned and based in the U.S.) divided evenly
between two conferences, the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football
Conference (NFC).162 The teams in each conference were further segmented into one of four
divisions, each containing four teams.163 Each team played 16 games during the regular season (from
early September through late December) over the course of 17 weeks.164

After the regular season, the postseason began for teams whose win-loss record earned them the
right to compete for a spot in the championship game—the Super Bowl. The team with the best
record in each division earned a playoff berth, as did two “wild card”i teams from each conference.
Each conference held three successive playoff rounds with each team playing one game during each
round.j A team was eliminated once it lost a game. The teams from each conference that won all of
their playoff games faced off against each other in the Super Bowl. All told, a team could potentially
play 20 games over the entire season, including the playoffs (but not counting preseason games).

The Makeup of an NFL Team and How the Game Was Played

Each team had 53 players.165 Only 11 players from each team were on the field at a given time. On
offense, a team typically had one quarterback, one center, two guards, two tackles, one to two
running backs, one to two tight ends, and two to four wide receivers.166 The defense had a
permutation of players made up of defensive linesmen, linebackers, and defensive backs.

The purpose of the game was to advance the ball down the field (which was 100 yards long, not
including the end zones where the goalposts were located) to the opposing team’s end zone in order
to score points, which could be done by a player running into the end zone with the ball or catching it
in the end zone for a touchdown, worth six points, or by kicking the ball through the goalposts for a
field goal, worth three points. Following a touchdown, the scoring team had the choice of trying to
kick the ball through the goalposts for one extra point or running one play to try and get the ball into
the end zone for two points. While scoring was largely done on offense, a team’s defense could also
score by intercepting a pass or by recovering a fumble and running the ball into the opposing team’s
end zone, or by tackling a ball-carrier in his own end zone (a safety, for two points).167

A team’s offense had four chances (downs) to advance the ball a total of 10 yards towards its
opponent’s end zone. The defense tried to prevent this by either breaking up a pass or tackling the
player holding the ball. Once a team moved the ball at least 10 yards, it received a new set of downs
and the process repeated until the team scored or failed to move the ball 10 yards within one set of
downs. Players were penalized for illegal actions, which cost their team yards or downs. Officials also
had the authority to eject players from a game. Each game was played for 60 minutes over four 15-
minute quarters (not including overtime in the event of a tie).

The Collective Bargaining Agreement and Player Contracts

Players were represented by the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA).168 The
NFLPA had many responsibilities, one of which was to negotiate the collective bargaining agreement

i Wild card spots were for teams that did not have the best record in their individual divisions, but which had the best overall
record of all the remaining teams.

j The two teams in each conference with the best overall records were exempted from the first playoff round and automatically
advanced to the second round.

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(CBA) under which players operated.169 The most recent CBA was agreed to in August 2011.170 NFL
players had gone on strike a handful of times since the late 1960s, and had done so most recently in
2011.171 These strikes were primarily over financial or labor issues.172

A key function of the CBA was to determine how players and owners shared the NFL’s revenues,
and the current CBA set the figure at 46% to 48% to the players every year.173 Players received
specific portions of different revenue streams to arrive at this figure.174 For example, players received
55% of revenues earned from most media deals, but only 40% of the money earned by teams at the
“local”k level.175 The CBA also set salary caps to determine how much teams could pay players. Each
year’s salary cap was tied to how much money the NFL brought in.176 The salary cap was $120.6
million per team in 2012, $123 million in 2013, and $133 million for 2014.177 Salary caps helped control
spending but also provided a degree of competitive parity by ensuring that all teams operated within
a similar set of parameters. This helped ensure that small-market teams could compete with their
wealthier, large-market competitors if they properly managed their rosters and player contracts.

The typical NFL athlete could expect to play for 3.5 years and earn $1.9 million per year.178 In both
career length and pay, NFL players lagged fellow athletes in three of North America’s other major
sports leagues (see Table 1).179 NFL athletes could lose their job due to injuries, changing team needs,
and the regular influx of new talent looking to secure one of the finite number of jobs on an NFL
roster.180 “That’s part of it (playing in the NFL) [parenthesis in original]. . . . You got so many guys
coming out of college who can come in and get on pretty quick,” said one NFL running back.181

Table 1 Average Earnings and Career of Athletes in Selected Professional Sports

League Career Earnings Annual Salary Career Length

Major League Baseball $17.9 million $3.2 million 5.6 years
National Basketball Association $24.7 million $5.2 million 4.8 years
National Football League $6.7 million $1.9 million 3.5 years
National Hockey League $13.2 million $2.4 million 5.5 years

Source: Adapted from data from Sports Interactions, cited in Nick Schwartz, “The Average Career Earnings of Athletes
Across America’s Major Sports Will Shock You,” USA Today Sports, October 24, 2013, http://ftw.usatoday.com/
2013/10/average-career-earnings-nfl-nba-mlb-nhl-mls, accessed April 2014.

NFL salary minimums varied depending on how long players had been in the NFL.182 In 2014, for
example, a rookie was scheduled to make at least $420,000 in salary, while a veteran with 10 or more
years of experience would make a minimum salary of $955,000.183 Players could supplement their
income with endorsement deals. For example, quarterback Peyton Manning earned $12 million in
endorsements alone from June 2012 through June 2013.184 Nevertheless, many players suffered from
financial problems later in life.185 One group of academics found that “even in the most conservative
scenario nearly 15[%] of players will have declared bankruptcy by 25 years after retirement.”186

Player contracts contained both guaranteed and non-guaranteed money, and teams could release
players and not have to pay the remaining non-guaranteed money.187 This was not the case in other

k This was defined as “all revenue received or to be received by the clubs or club affiliates and not included in League Media
or NFL Ventures and Postseason revenue.” Ike Ejiochi, “How the NFL Makes the Most of Any Pro Sport,” CNBC, September 4,
2014, http://www.cnbc.com/id/101884818, accessed April 2015.

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The average career earnings of athletes across America’s major sports will shock you

The average career earnings of athletes across America’s major sports will shock you

http://www.cnbc.com/id/101884818

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leagues, such as Major League Baseball, where one commenter noted how athletes “have their entire
contract guaranteed the second the ink dries on their contract.”188 One common form of guaranteed
money in the NFL was the bonus that players received upon signing a contract. Contracts could also
include performance incentives. For instance, Colin Kaepernick, quarterback for the San Francisco
49ers, signed a $126 million contract in June 2014, but only $61 million was guaranteed.189 Kaepernick
had to reach a number of targets to earn the full amount.190

The NFL Administration

The NFL was organized in 1920 to introduce standards for all professional teams to follow.191
Based in New York City, the NFL was a nonprofit company that oversaw the independently owned
and operated NFL franchises.192 The NFL managed the lucrative television broadcasting deals for the
entire league, with the revenues shared between the 32 teams.193 In 1964, the league started NFL
Films, responsible for producing documentaries, specials, and other content.194 In 2004, the league
established the NFL Network, its own television station that broadcast original content and the
Thursday Night Football game during the regular season.195 The NFL had 400 employees in 2010.196

Commissioner Roger Goodell had headed the NFL since 2006 when he was elected by NFL team
owners.197 Goodell had spent his entire career in professional football and had held several executive-
level positions with the NFL.198 Before becoming commissioner, he was the NFL’s Executive Vice
President and COO.199 In 2012, Goodell was reappointed through March 2019.200

Competitors

The modern NFL was created in 1966 via the merger of the American Football League (AFL) and
the National Football League, which had competed intensely with one another for players and fans
through the first part of the decade.201 The two leagues finally combined in 1970 and operated as the
NFL, but with two separate conferences, the AFC and NFC.202

The first competitive threat to this unified league came in the mid-1970s from the short-lived
World Football League (WFL).203 The WFL fielded 12 teams in its first season and 11 teams in its
second and final season.204 The United States Football League (USFL) provided more serious
competition in the 1980s. The USFL lasted for just three seasons (1983–1985),205 but during this time it
held multimillion-dollar contracts with ABC and ESPN, and 2.7 million fans attended league games
in its inaugural season.206 The USFL was successful in attracting top-tier talent coming out of college
programs, and a number of future NFL Hall-of-Famers played in the USFL.207 The league launched
an antitrust suit against the NFL and, although the USFL won, it received just $3 in compensation.208
The NFL later had to pay $5.5 million, but the USFL had folded by that stage.209

Other professional football leagues developed in the years after the USFL’s collapse, but none
were direct competitors to the NFL. Arena Football League games were held on a field half as long as
an NFL field, and while the two leagues had similar rules, there were noticeable differences.210 For
example, punting was not allowed in the AFL.211 NBC and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)
launched the XFL Football League in the early 21st century, but it lasted just one season.212 “The
league was supposed to combine the sex-and-violence appeal of the [WWE] with the prime-time
muscle of NBC. Instead, lousy football and an overreliance on tawdry hype turned the XFL . . . into
one of the biggest flops in TV history,” one observer noted.213

A few international leagues had also developed. NFL Europa operated from the mid-1990s until
2007,214 and the Canadian Football League traced its roots back to the early 21st century.215

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Marketing, Media Reach, and Revenues

A key component of the NFL’s financial success and widespread popularity was its marketing
and media savvy. “The NFL is not in the football business—its product is not football. The NFL is a
media company that captures the mystique—the football aura—that pulses into the soul of every
football fan,” one branding expert noted.216 Starting in 1962, the NFL began bargaining as a single
entity with television broadcasters instead of each team creating its own deals.217 This was the work
of then-commissioner Pete Rozelle, recognized as the man who “[took] a league that along with its
franchises generated less than $20 million annually in 1960 and [developed] it into a multibillion-
dollar-a-year business by the end of his stewardship as commissioner [in 1989].”218

The NFL signed increasingly lucrative television deals.219 The NFL had a nine-year deal (running
from 2014 through 2023) with CBS, FOX, and NBC valued at $28 billion.220 The yearly payments
totaled $1.1 billion from Fox, $1 billion from CBS, and $950 million from NBC.221 The NFL also
received $1.1 billion per season from ESPN to televise Monday Night Football games, and a new deal
started in 2014 for $1.9 billion each year for eight years.222 The NFL also had a $1 billion a year, four-
year deal with DirectTV.223 “NFL broadcast rights are so sought after that TV networks routinely
enter into rights contracts with no conceivable expectation of making back the costs with
advertising,” said one observer.224

The NFL was able to command such deals because of the large viewership its games attracted. The
average 2013 regular season game was watched by 17.6 million people.225 This translated into a
substantial number of fans over the course of the season, and as the NFL noted, “[T]he 2013 regular
season reached 205 million unique viewers, representing 81% of all television homes and 70% of
potential viewers in the U.S. [emphasis in original].”226 The Super Bowl alone regularly drew over
100 million viewers.227 For this reason, the Super Bowl was viewed as one of the best television
advertising platforms.228 It cost $8 million to run a minute-long commercial in the 2014 Super
Bowl.229

The NFL had other media revenue streams that brought it and the franchise teams significant
amounts of money. “Factor in other media deals with the NFL Network, . . . Westwood One radio
and others, and NFL teams will divvy up nearly $7 billion in media money starting in 2014. That is
more than $200 million per team every year before one ticket, beer or jersey is sold,” said one
commenter.230 Team owners divided money among themselves from multiple revenue streams as
diverse as each team’s ticket sales to the NFL-brokered media deals.231 “Because revenues are spread
evenly across franchises, owners don’t gain much financially when their teams win,” one observer
remarked about the impact of the league’s revenue-sharing formula. “[A] 10 percent increase in
regular season wins for an average team only leads to a 0.14 percent increase in revenue.”232 Owners
also typically used public money when building or renovating their team’s stadiums.233

Economic Impact of an NFL Team

In addition to those watching on television, a sizable number of people watched games live in
stadiums. Although the NFL and the teams employed comparatively few people, a number of jobs
relied on fan patronage.234 Roughly 5,000 people worked at Gillette Stadium, home of the New
England Patriots, on a game day.235 Writing in late 2011, one observer commented on the NFL’s
economic impact by noting that “[t]he league supports about 110,000 jobs in NFL cities—not just
quarterbacks and punters, but also hotel workers and sports-bar employees.”236

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Endnotes

1 Darren Rovell, “NFL Most Popular for 30th Year in a Row,” ESPN, January 26, 2014,
http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/10354114/harris-poll-nfl-most-popular-mlb-2nd, accessed May 2014; Brent Schrotenboer,
“NFL Takes Aim at $25 Billion, But at What Price?,” USA Today, February 5, 2014,
http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/super/2014/01/30/super-bowl-nfl-revenue-denver-broncos-seattle-
seahawks/5061197/, accessed May 2014.
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2020 to Jan 2021.

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New Commissioner,” ESPN.com News Services, ESPN, August 9, 2006,
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198 “New Commissioner Joined NFL in 1982,” ESPN, August 9, 2006, http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=2543365,
accessed May 2014.
199 “New Commissioner Joined NFL in 1982,” ESPN.

For the exclusive use of s. sathiaseelan, 2020.

This document is authorized for use only by sainesh sathiaseelan in Badm 537-01 Legal, Ethical, & Social Environment-1-1-1 taught by Daniel Kanyam, University of the Cumberlands from Jul
2020 to Jan 2021.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1665623-how-does-the-salary-cap-work-in-the-nfl

The average career earnings of athletes across America’s major sports will shock you

The average career earnings of athletes across America’s major sports will shock you

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The full Kaepernick contract details

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http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=2543783

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=2543365

815-071 The National Football League and Brain Injuries

26

200 “Roger Goodell’s Contract Extended,” ESPN.com News Services, ESPN, January 25, 2012,
http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/7502396/commissioner-roger-goodell-gets-extension-2018-season, accessed May 2014.
201 “History, 1961-1970,” The National Football League, http://www.nfl.com/history/chronology/1961-1970, accessed April
2015.
202 “History, 1961-1970,” The National Football League.
203 “History, 1971-1980,” The National Football League, http://www.nfl.com/history/chronology/1971-1980, accessed April
2015.
204 “World Football League Standings,” Pro Football Hall of Fame,
http://www.profootballhof.com/history/story.aspx?story_id=2875, accessed April 2015.
205 “USFL Standings, 1983-85,” Pro Football Hall of Fame,
http://www.profootballhof.com/history/story.aspx?story_id=2925, accessed April 2015.
206 Joshua Lobdell, “The History of the USFL,” Bleacher Report, July 16, 2009, http://bleacherreport.com/articles/218727-the-
history-of-the-usfl, accessed April 2015.
207 Adam Rank, “A Brief History of the USFL,” The National Football League, January 17, 2013,
http://blogs.nfl.com/2013/01/17/a-brief-history-of-the-usfl/, accessed April 2015.
208 Richard Hoffer, “USFL Awarded Only $3 in Antitrust Decision: Jury Finds NFL Guilty on One of Nine Counts,” Los Angeles
Times, July 30, 1986, http://articles.latimes.com/1986-07-30/sports/sp-18643_1_jury-finds-nfl-guilty, accessed April 2015.
209 “NFL Loses, Must Pay $5.5 Million to USFL: Football: Supreme Court lets stand a ruling that the league must pay legal fees
in antitrust suit,” Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, February 20, 1990, http://articles.latimes.com/1990-02-20/sports/sp-
1213_1_supreme-court, accessed April 2015.
210 “About, Rules of the Game,” Arena Football League, http://www.arenafootball.com/about/afl-rules.html, accessed May
2015.
211 “About, Rules of the Game,” Arena Football League.
212 Stefan Fatsis and Joe Flint, “How the XFL Football League Became One of the Biggest Flops in TV History,” Wall Street
Journal, April 23, 2001, http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB987984355871235792, accessed May 2015.
213 Fatsis and Flint, “How the XFL Football League Became One of the Biggest Flops in TV History.”
214 “NFL Europa Closes,” The National Football League, updated July 26, 2012, http://www.nfl.com/nfl-europa-closes,
accessed May 2015.
215 “Grey Cup Central,” The Canadian Football League, http://cfl.ca/greycupcentral, accessed May 2015.
216 Rob Wolfe as quoted in “National Football League (NFL),”Encyclopedia of Global Brands 2, 2nd ed. (2013), p. 735, via Gale
Reference Library, accessed May 2014.
217 Covell and Meyer, “National Football League,” p. 347.
218 Covell and Meyer, “National Football League,” p. 347.

219 “National Football League (NFL),”Encyclopedia of Global Brands 2, pp. 735-736.
220 Joe Flint, “NFL Signs TV Rights Deals with Fox, NBC, and CBS,” Los Angeles Times, December 15, 2011,
http://articles.latimes.com/2011/dec/15/business/la-fi-ct-nfl-deals-20111215, accessed May 2015.
221 Flint, “NFL Signs TV Rights Deals with Fox, NBC, and CBS.”

222 Kurt Badenhausen, “ESPN and NFL Ink $15 Billion Extension,” Forbes, September 8, 2011,
http://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2011/09/08/espn-and-nfl-ink-15-billion-extension/, accessed June 2014.
223 Ike Ejiochi, “How the NFL Makes the Most of Any Pro Sport,” CNBC, September 4, 2014,
http://www.cnbc.com/id/101884818, accessed April 2015.
224 Abram Sauer, “NFL Fumbles?,” brandchannel, January 1, 2007,
http://www.brandchannel.com/features_profile.asp?pr_id=316, accessed June 2014.

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2020 to Jan 2021.

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/7502396/commissioner-roger-goodell-gets-extension-2018-season

http://www.nfl.com/history/chronology/1961-1970

http://www.nfl.com/history/chronology/1971-1980

http://www.profootballhof.com/history/story.aspx?story_id=2875

http://www.profootballhof.com/history/story.aspx?story_id=2925

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/218727-the-history-of-the-usfl

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/218727-the-history-of-the-usfl

http://blogs.nfl.com/2013/01/17/a-brief-history-of-the-usfl/

http://articles.latimes.com/1986-07-30/sports/sp-18643_1_jury-finds-nfl-guilty

http://articles.latimes.com/1990-02-20/sports/sp-1213_1_supreme-court

http://articles.latimes.com/1990-02-20/sports/sp-1213_1_supreme-court

http://www.arenafootball.com/about/afl-rules.html

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB987984355871235792

http://www.nfl.com/nfl-europa-closes

http://cfl.ca/greycupcentral

http://articles.latimes.com/2011/dec/15/business/la-fi-ct-nfl-deals-20111215

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2011/09/08/espn-and-nfl-ink-15-billion-extension/

http://www.cnbc.com/id/101884818

http://www.brandchannel.com/features_profile.asp?pr_id=316

The National Football League and Brain Injuries 815-071

27

225 “NFL 2013 TV Recap,” The National Football League press release, January 8, 2014,
http://nfllabor.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/2013-ratings-season-recap1.pdf, accessed May 2014.
226 “NFL 2013 TV Recap,” The National Football League press release.
227 Anthony Crupi, “Nielsen Overturns Earlier Call: Super Bowl XLVII Is Most Watched, Ever,” AdWeek, February 3, 2014,
http://www.adweek.com/news/television/nielsen-overturns-earlier-call-super-bowl-xlviii-most-watched-ever-155461,
accessed June 2014.
228 Rob Siltanen, “Yes, a Super Bowl Ad Really Is Worth $4 Million,” Forbes, January 29, 2014,
http://www.forbes.com/sites/onmarketing/2014/01/29/yes-a-super-bowl-ad-really-is-worth-4-million/, accessed June 2014.
229 Siltanen, “Yes, a Super Bowl Ad Really Is Worth $4 Million.”

230 Badenhausen, “The NFL Signs TV Deals Worth $27 Billion.”
231 Darren Rovell, “NFL Teams Split $6B in Revenue,” ESPN, July 10, 2014,
http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/11200179/nfl-teams-divided-6-billion-revenue-according-green-bay-packers-financials,
accessed May 2015; and Howard Bloom, “NFL Revenue Sharing Model Good for Business,” Sporting News, September 5, 2014,
http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/story/2014-09-05/nfl-revenue-sharing-television-contracts-2014-season-business-model-
nba-nhl-mlb-comparison-salary-cap, accessed May 2015.
232 David Berri, “America’s Socialist Sports League: The NFL,” The Atlantic, March 26, 2015,
http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/03/americas-socialist-sports-league-the-nfl/388330/, accessed May
2015.
233 Gregg Easterbrook, “How the NFL Fleeces Taxpayers,” The Atlantic, October 2013,
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/10/how-the-nfl-fleeces-taxpayers/309448/, accessed May 2015.
234 Paul Wiseman, “Football’s Back: NFL Is a Key Player in the Economy,” USA Today, September 9, 2011,
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/economy/story/2011-09-11/nfl-economy/50339734/1, accessed May 2014.
235 “Venue Information,” Gillette Stadium, http://gillettestadium.com/venue-information, accessed May 2014.
236 Wiseman, “Football’s Back: NFL Is a Key Player in the Economy.”

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This document is authorized for use only by sainesh sathiaseelan in Badm 537-01 Legal, Ethical, & Social Environment-1-1-1 taught by Daniel Kanyam, University of the Cumberlands from Jul
2020 to Jan 2021.

http://nfllabor.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/2013-ratings-season-recap1.pdf

http://www.adweek.com/news/television/nielsen-overturns-earlier-call-super-bowl-xlviii-most-watched-ever-155461

http://www.forbes.com/sites/onmarketing/2014/01/29/yes-a-super-bowl-ad-really-is-worth-4-million/

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/11200179/nfl-teams-divided-6-billion-revenue-according-green-bay-packers-financials

http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/story/2014-09-05/nfl-revenue-sharing-television-contracts-2014-season-business-model-nba-nhl-mlb-comparison-salary-cap

http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/story/2014-09-05/nfl-revenue-sharing-television-contracts-2014-season-business-model-nba-nhl-mlb-comparison-salary-cap

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/03/americas-socialist-sports-league-the-nfl/388330/

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/10/how-the-nfl-fleeces-taxpayers/309448/

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/economy/story/2011-09-11/nfl-economy/50339734/1

http://gillettestadium.com/venue-information

The National Football League and Brain Injuries
Concussions and Brain Injuries
Injuries in the NFL
Head Injuries in the NFL

Table AConcussions in the NFL, 2011 to 2013 (preseason and regular season)
The NFL’s Response to Head Injuries
Retired Players’ Deaths and the Focus on CTE
The NFL Reacts
Beyond Football

The Lawsuit
Player Opinions
The Federal Government’s Responsibilities?
Non-Professional Football
College Football

The Future of the Game
Rules Changes
Equipment Changes

What to Do?
Exhibit 1The Five Most and Five Least Valuable NFL Teams, 2012
Exhibit 2Most Valuable Sports Teams in the World, 2013
Exhibit 3Offensive and Defensive Player Positions, and the Number of Concussions Sustained by Position, 2012–2013
Exhibit 4Examples of Historical Football Equipment
Appendix:Backround on Football and the NFL
The Makeup of an NFL Team and How the Game Was Played
The Collective Bargaining Agreement and Player Contracts
The NFL Administration
Competitors
Marketing, Media Reach, and Revenues
Economic Impact of an NFL Team

Endnotes

W16813

MACEWAN RESIDENCE SERVICES: A RISKY ACCOMMODATION?

Mike Annett and Dana Dzivinski wrote this case solely to provide material for class discussion. The authors do not intend to illustrate
either effective or ineffective handling of a managerial situation. The authors may have disguised certain names and other identifying
information to protect confidentiality.

This publication may not be transmitted, photocopied, digitized, or otherwise reproduced in any form or by any means without the
permission of the copyright holder. Reproduction of this material is not covered under authorization by any reproduction rights
organization. To order copies or request permission to reproduce materials, contact Ivey Publishing, Ivey Business School, Western
University, London, Ontario, Canada, N6G 0N1; (t) 519.661.3208; (e) [email protected]; www.iveycases.com.

Copyright © 2016, Richard Ivey School of Business Foundation Version: 2017-07-27

In late November 2014, Clint Galloway, the director of Residence Services at MacEwan University
(MacEwan), in the province of Alberta, Canada, was about to make his employee selection for a residence
assistant (RA) position. The new hire would replace a vacancy due to a recent employee resignation. The
full selection process had just concluded, and one of the top candidates was Mikayla Benson. She and two
other candidates were deemed equal in their overall qualifications. Benson was stronger in some regards,
but the other candidates were stronger in other areas. These differences were not material to the role, so all
three candidates could be successful in the position.

One significant consideration was that Benson used a wheelchair, which meant that functional and structural
accommodations would be required for her. Galloway leaned toward hiring Benson because of his own
personal values of diversity and inclusive employment. The fact that the Alberta Human Rights Act1
prohibited employment discrimination on the basis of a disability unless a bona fide occupational
requirement was present also helped direct Galloway’s thinking (see Exhibit 1). However, Galloway also
recognized that his values of inclusiveness and affirmative action could lead him toward several issues: (a)
engaging in reverse discrimination for the other candidates, (b) minimizing the need to hire an RA that
could fully respond to an emergency situation, and (c) making a choice that unnecessarily increased his
supervisory load.

Choosing the other candidates meant that Galloway would not need to worry about their physical capacity
to respond to emergency situations. He would also avoid potential negative reactions from his team or
student clients regarding working with a person with disabilities. MacEwan’s human resources vision
appeared to be silent on the matter of diversity and inclusive employment, which was of little help to
Galloway. Wanting to make a right and responsible choice, and recognizing that preventing, minimizing,
and solving problems was one of his responsibilities, Galloway began work on his task. He reviewed signals
from legislation, his values, and the organization’s practices, and then drafted a list of problems that could
arise from hiring and from not hiring Benson.

1 Alberta Human Rights Act, RSA 2000, c. A-25.5, accessed November 16, 2016,
www.qp.alberta.ca/documents/Acts/A25P5.pdf.

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Page 2 9B16C045

RESIDENCE SERVICES

Organizational Overview

MacEwan’s Residence Services had offered apartment-style accommodations since 2005. The 13-storey
structure had three wings, housed up to 878 students in various room configurations, and contained several
common entertainment or social rooms plus amenities. Unit rental rates ranged from US$4,0002 to $5,500
per term, depending on the room configuration (bachelor, two-bedroom, or four-bedroom). In addition to
the core deliverable service—accommodation—Residence Services worked to help students experience an
intellectually and socially stimulating environment that supported academic achievement, personal
development, and healthy lifestyle practices.

To operate the building and deliver mission-fulfilling programs and services, Residence Services
maintained a workforce of approximately 50 positions. Seven of these positions (e.g., director, accounting
technician, and housing coordinator) were permanent and supported the overall direction and long-term
functioning of Residence Services. These roles were performed by non-student employees. The remaining
positions were temporary (e.g., RA, residence programmer, and front desk attendant), and were performed
by student employees (see Exhibit 2).

Director of Residence Services

Galloway joined Residence Services as director in 2008. He had eight years of related experience in
supporting students in academic and residential environments. Galloway also held a master’s degree in
student affairs in higher education. Galloway strongly believed in an inclusive society and found it easy to
create opportunities for others to become involved in work situations, social activities, or personal
connections. Over the previous few years, Galloway had created several customized jobs in Residence
Services that enabled students with more challenging disabilities (e.g., cerebral palsy and autism) to obtain
part-time paid work experience. Those employees were supported by job coaches provided by a third-party
agency. The job duties were typically related to filing and data administration, and were performed in the
back office. When Galloway hired his staff, he looked for people who could perform effectively in their
role and make strong contributions to the welcoming and empowering culture of Residence Services.

Residence Assistant Position

The RA position reported to the resident life coordinator and was oriented to the following vision: “To
provide an exceptional student experience, within which an individual will feel heard, valued, respected,
and supported. We believe that any person who walks through the doors of MacEwan University Residence
deserves a positive experience and an opportunity to engage in their own personal growth and development”
(see Exhibit 3).

The job description also noted that the RA was responsible for providing “a diverse and comprehensive
residence program in Edmonton, Alberta, where residents will gain the necessary skills to enhance
themselves, their peers, and overall community, which are essential components of their present and future
success” (see Exhibit 3). As part of this role, the RA was mainly expected to create and deliver programs
and act as early intervener for floor issues and emergencies.

2 All currency amounts are in US$ unless otherwise specified.

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Page 3 9B16C045

As a “position with authority” in residence, the RA would be seen as a source of stability for students,
capable of resolving conflict and responding to student concerns and facility emergencies. This position
required approximately 15–20 hours of service per week to perform to satisfactory levels and have
meaningful impact, but the work was not formally scheduled. Rather, the RA acted or served when
programs were offered or student support needs arose. RAs lived in the residence and were given discounts
on their accommodations as part of their compensation. In the second year of employment, RAs were
additionally provided a small monthly stipend.

EMPLOYEE SELECTION

Selection Process

Candidates for the position were solicited through notice boards in the residence common areas and on the
MacEwan corporate website. Advertisements outlined the key duties of the role, including (a) serving as a
role model and helping students adjust to university life, (b) documenting any incidents and violations (but
not assessing sanctions), and (c) sharing responsibility for building security. Additionally, the
advertisement noted that training would be provided for all job duties, including peer counselling,
mediation, first aid, leadership, and more.

Positions within Residence Services were normally appointed through a competitive process. Occasionally,
non-competitive appointments were made for reasons of operational effectiveness (e.g., reappointments
after term completions) and socially inclusive reasons (e.g., job development opportunities for persons with
developmental disabilities). Residence Services strove to build a workforce that reflected the student
community it served, but it did not have an active or prescriptive diversity policy to uphold. The vision and
mission of MacEwan’s human resources focused on the importance of developing a challenging, diverse,
and fulfilling workplace built on quality and engaged staff (see Exhibit 4).

The selection process for the RA position typically involved the following steps:

 Initial screening of resume applications by the selection team
 Invited interviews, which followed an approach of rotation through multiple stations, with each station

having an assigned selection team member and topic
 Reference checks with a prior employer by a member of the selection team
 Communication of top candidates by the selection team to the director of Residence Services
 Offer presentation to the selected candidate and negotiation by the director of Residence Services

The volume of applications for the RA position varied from one posting to the next, but commonly 30–50
applicants received initial consideration, and 10–15 were seriously considered. Typically, five Residence
Services staff members were involved in the selection process; sometimes, a human resources
representative was also involved. The final selection decision was made by the director, informed by the
input from other process participants.

The selection process usually took place during the winter months (November to February), with orientation
and employment for the next academic year beginning in late summer. The timing was planned to secure
the RA before the break for the spring and summer months, when many students left the campus. At the
same time, any immediate vacancies were filled to replace RAs who resigned from Residence Services after
the fall semester. The RA’s role was flexible and somewhat dependent on the characteristics of both the
incumbent and the students being served. Occasionally, RAs decided that the position was not what they

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Page 4 9B16C045

had envisioned and chose not to continue or complete their assignment. Benson applied for a position that
started in January 2015.

The number of RA positions was relatively consistent, at about 17 annually. This was possible because
occupancy rates were fairly static during the main education semesters (fall and winter) and 17 RAs
provided suitable coverage for the students, at one or two RAs per floor. The number of RAs that needed
to be hired that year was forecasted at nine people; the actual number hired depended on the return rate of
prior year RAs. Based on the natural retention cycle, about 50 per cent of RAs returned for a second set of
semesters; some RAs exited early, after one semester of service; and some RAs stayed on for a second or
third academic year. The employment cycle of RAs generally worked well for Residence Services. It
supported consistency and maturing of the RAs, while accommodating students’ flexible and evolving
employment interests.

Selection Considerations

The RA role carried significant responsibility and authority to help support the well-being of students and
maintain the quality, safety, and positive experience of residence life. When making a selection decision,
the director of Residence Services weighed a number of considerations, including the following three
requirements:

 The candidate’s competency and personal suitability to develop and deliver programming and to engage

meaningfully with student residents (e.g., leadership ability and listening skills)
 The candidate’s capacity for issues management, to help address or deter various presentations of harm

to student residents (e.g., unsafe activities or exuberant parties)
 The candidate’s emergency response capacity, to help student residents respond appropriately to

dangers (e.g., intruders, assaults, or fire or emergency evacuation)

In terms of frequency of events, the RA was most commonly called upon to use professional abilities for
delivering programming and connecting with student residents. Occasionally, the management of issues
was called upon, and more rarely, emergency response actions were needed. However, in preceding years,
events at other universities and student residences suggested that safety and well-being were increasing and
serious concerns.3 Fortunately, at MacEwan’s student residences there had only been minor issues and no
significant emergencies or intrusions, but the probability seemed to be increasing each year. Therefore, the
director had to be cognizant of all three elements of the RA role and of the consequences of failure or non-
performance.

IMMINENT DECISION

Galloway was at a clear decision point. The other members of the selection process agreed that Benson had
the competencies and personal qualities necessary to perform the major portions of the RA position.
However, Galloway needed to strongly consider whether Benson had the capacity to act effectively in an

3 Rob Trip, “Student Found Dead at Queen’s University Residence,” The Whig, September 13, 2012, accessed June 1, 2016,
www.thewhig.com/2010/09/13/student-found-dead-at-queens-university-residence; Josh Visser, “Ontario University Working
to Remove Disturbing Video After Student Sets Fire in Apparent Online Suicide Attempt,” The National Post, December 2,
2013, accessed June 1, 2016, http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/ontario-university-dorm-evacuated-after-student-
sets-himself-on-fire-in-apparent-online-suicide-attempt; Laura Kane, “Rape Victim’s Ordeal with University of Saskatchewan,”
CBC News, November 21, 2014, accessed June 1, 2016, www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/attempted-break-in-at-
student-lounge-prompts-ubc-warning-1.3518361.

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Page 5 9B16C045

emergency situation or deter an intruder. That is, could she perform the complete job? Galloway also
wondered if his duty to accommodate was outweighed by bona fide occupational requirements.

In addition, Galloway was balancing his own proclivities towards inclusive employment with a sense of
corporate responsibility. If Benson became an RA, Galloway would need to authorize several renovation
projects to ensure that the office was completely accessible to Benson and her wheelchair. He would also
need to modify some of the job duties so that they could be completed from a sitting position. The structural
accommodations would require approximately $3,000 to complete, and the functional accommodations
would require the co-operation of a partner RA from time to time. The funding for the accommodations
would need to come from a general operating account because no specific budget was allocated for such an
accommodation.

In addition to direct accommodations for Benson, there was a potential impact on the day-to-day work of
the general team and student residents. The RA needed to interact and work closely with other RAs and
students on life and personal growth issues, so Galloway also needed to acknowledge the potential for gains
and losses in terms of team and service dynamics.

The selection panel had identified Benson as a suitable candidate, but the final decision and accountability
to offer employment was his. However, he had to decide quickly. The candidate needed to be hired and
oriented in the next two weeks—before the final exam period and the start of the Christmas break—if the
new RA was to be in place for the next semester. The decision to hire or not to hire Benson rested on
Galloway.

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Page 6 9B16C045

EXHIBIT 1: ALBERTA HUMAN RIGHTS ACT (EXCERPT)

Discrimination re employment practices

7 (1) No employer shall

(a) refuse to employ or refuse to continue to employ any person, or

(b) discriminate against any person with regard to employment or any term or condition of
employment,

because of the race, religious beliefs, colour, gender, gender identity, gender expression, physical disability,
mental disability, age, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, source of income, family status or sexual
orientation of that person or of any other person.

(2) Subsection (1) as it relates to age and marital status does not affect the operation of any bona fide
retirement or pension plan or the terms or conditions of any bona fide group or employee insurance plan.

(3) Subsection (1) does not apply with respect to a refusal, limitation, specification or preference based on
a bona fide occupational requirement.

Source: Alberta Human Rights Act, RSA 2000, c. A-25.5, s. 7 (Alberta Queen’s Printer), accessed June 1, 2016,
www.qp.alberta.ca/documents/Acts/A25P5.pdf.

EXHIBIT 2: MACEWAN UNIVERSITY RESIDENCE SERVICES, ORGANIZATION CHART

Source: Adapted by the author from MacEwan University internal documents.

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This document is authorized for use only by sainesh sathiaseelan in Badm 537-01 Legal, Ethical, & Social Environment-1-1-1 taught by Daniel Kanyam, University of the Cumberlands from Jul
2020 to Jan 2021.

Page 7 9B16C045

EXHIBIT 3: RESIDENCE ASSISTANT (RA) POSITION DESCRIPTION

Reports to: Residence Life Coordinator (RLC)
Department: MacEwan University Residence Services

CLEAR EYES. FULL HEARTS. CAN’T LOSE.

MacEwan University Residence Life’s mission is to provide a diverse and comprehensive residence
program in Edmonton, Alberta, where residents will gain the necessary skills to enhance themselves, their
peers, and overall community, which are essential components of their present and future success. We
hope to achieve this by working collaboratively with students, faculty, staff, and MacEwan campus partners
in creating an engaging and inclusive environment that encourages and provides its members with
opportunities to grow into positive and successful global citizens and leaders.

Our vision is to provide an exceptional student experience, within which an individual will feel heard, valued,
respected, and supported. We believe that any person who walks through the doors of MacEwan University
Residence deserves a positive experience and an opportunity to engage in their own personal growth and
development.

ROLE

1. Foster an atmosphere in residence that creates opportunities for community building.
2. Develop and facilitate programs that address the needs of the floor and support the programming

model set out by Residence Services.
3. Facilitate a secure foundation for student transition and growth into University life.
4. Ensure that residence policies are upheld and respond to policy violations and emergencies as

they arise.
5. Maintain open communication and manage administrative duties.
6. Act as a role model of respect for self, others, and the community.

COMPETENCIES and RESPONSIBILITIES

INTEGRITY – Adhere to a personal moral standard that includes honesty, accountability, compassion,
empathy, and a commitment to service. Uphold the professional standards of MacEwan University. Have a
general concern for the student experience and their success as learners and residents. Responsibilities
include:

 Alert Residence Life Coordinators (RLCs) regarding special needs or concerns of individual
residents or problem areas in the building in a timely manner.

 Respond to students who violate community standards and any other Residence and/or University
policies or regulations.

 Ensure all policy violations are handled in a consistent and fair manner and report all potential
discipline situations to the RLCs.

 Know and understand the referral procedure for assistance (i.e., Mental Health, Campus Security).
 Attend and be on time for all staff and unit meetings.
 Communicate positively and directly with residents and staff, and encourage the same from others.
 Demonstrate academic efforts as a priority of residence life.
 Refrain from behaviours that would undermine this position of leadership.
 Abide by the Residence Community Standards, University policies and regulations, as well as

community expectations as decided by floor members.

For the exclusive use of s. sathiaseelan, 2020.

This document is authorized for use only by sainesh sathiaseelan in Badm 537-01 Legal, Ethical, & Social Environment-1-1-1 taught by Daniel Kanyam, University of the Cumberlands from Jul
2020 to Jan 2021.

Page 8 9B16C045

EXHIBIT 3 (CONTINUED)

ATTITUDE – Have a positive disposition in which outlook and behaviours are aligned with the values of the
program. Approach all aspects of the role with enthusiasm and passion. Responsibilities include:

 Encourage and support resident involvement within the building and throughout campus.
 Understand and use resources available for the support and assistance of residents in need.
 Assist residents proactively with their individual and community concerns.

GROWTH – Pursue engaged participation in one’s own personal growth and continued learning. Be
committed to the ongoing advancement of the staff, team, and Residence Life program as a whole.
Responsibilities include:

 Have a solid understanding of the MacEwan Residence Handbook as presented by Residence
Services.

 Recognize when situations warrant a call for staff backup.
 Attend all mandatory RLS Leadership Development Institutes.

LEADERSHIP – Represent the Residence Life program values through positive role modelling, peer
mentorship, and a maintenance of the highest personal and professional standards at all times.
Responsibilities include:

 Coordinate and facilitate monthly community meetings.
 Serve as a resource for programs and options available on campus, and/or seek out appropriate

information.
 Encourage involvement of floor members in planning programs/events and available leadership

opportunities.
 Share information in a timely manner regarding procedures and important dates to residents (e.g.,

check out, room changes, add/drop deadline, extended stay registration, etc.).
 Address inappropriate behaviour, its impact on the residence community, and document these

incidents within 24 hours.
 Maintain building safety and security within reasonable individual limits, and respond to

emergencies as required.
 Understand how and when to activate Campus Security Services and other emergency response

units (i.e., Emergency Medical Service, fire department, etc.).
 Notify the RLC On Call and/or the Senior RA On Duty of all major incidents immediately.
 Actively participate in all move-in and move-out related activities.

DEDICATION – Dedicate appropriate time and effort toward fulfilling the goals and objectives of the
Residence Life program as well as a demonstrated loyalty to the program and its continued progress.
Responsibilities include:

 Establish, develop, and maintain an open relationship with each member of the community. Interact
with each member on the floor on a regular basis.

 Be available to residents on the floor.
 Evaluate and adjust programming to the needs of the floor and/or building where appropriate.
 Complete all incident documentation within 24 hours.
 Fulfill on-duty responsibilities including rounds, responding to calls, and handling resident inquiries.
 Report for on-duty shifts on time, according to schedule, and perform all responsibilities as outlined

by the RLCs.
 Submit all paperwork and reports in a timely manner.

For the exclusive use of s. sathiaseelan, 2020.

This document is authorized for use only by sainesh sathiaseelan in Badm 537-01 Legal, Ethical, & Social Environment-1-1-1 taught by Daniel Kanyam, University of the Cumberlands from Jul
2020 to Jan 2021.

Page 9 9B16C045

EXHIBIT 3 (CONTINUED)

 Support programs conducted by fellow staff members, including helping out, promoting, and/or
attending these programs.

 Support custodial and maintenance staff, and communicate their role to residents.
 Assist with daily building operations and procedures.
 Check/respond to e-mail and voice mail within 24 hours.
 Conduct building tours and related duties during MacEwan Open House or during other times as

assigned.

COMMUNITY – Demonstrate community living through the principles of unity, acceptance, collective
responsibility, and mutual respect. Recognize and celebrate that which makes each community unique and
special. Contribute to a culture of support, encouragement, and collaboration within the Residence Life
Staff Team. Responsibilities include:

 Facilitate and participate in programming initiatives throughout MacEwan Residence Orientation.
 Help residents adjust to living with suitemates and floor mates; facilitate roommate mediations if

necessary.
 Meet with each resident one-on-one at least once per semester and submit appropriate

documentation by the designated deadlines.
 Develop and facilitate the required number of programs that address the needs of the floor and

support the programming model set out by Residence Services.
 Create, maintain, and update a floor communications area and Facebook page for academic

information, programming, and happenings on the floor, in residence, or on campus.
 Communicate regularly with the Senior RA and RLC about happenings on assigned floor.

RESPECT – Recognize one’s fundamental right to respect. Challenge unhealthy social norms and ensure
a learning environment that is safe, inclusive, and respectful is fostered. Responsibilities include:

 Work cooperatively with residents to maintain the rights of all community members.
 Maintain confidentiality about job-related issues.
 Maintain objectivity in all situations.
 Respect the dignity and diversity of each resident and encourage the same from others.
 Create an inclusive atmosphere and promote a sense of belonging to the floor/unit/building/campus

community for each resident.

SUMMARY OF EXPECTATIONS

 Demonstrate understanding of MacEwan Residence Handbook and follow-up of policy violations.
 Adhere to all written and verbal protocols established by the RLCs and Residence Services.
 Report on time for each on-duty shift according to the schedule.
 Punctual and regular attendance at all meetings and thoughtful participation with other RLS and

RLCs.
 Achievement of all programming expectations as outlined in the programming model.
 Timely and comprehensive coordination and leadership of regular community meetings.
 Set-up and maintain floor communications board and floor Facebook page.
 Consistent and engaged attendance at August, October/November, and January Residence Life

Staff Leadership Development Institutes.
 Thorough and timely completion of all administrative duties.
 Timely response to voicemail and email messages within 24 hours.
 Consistent and enthusiastic promotion of Residence Services survey material.

For the exclusive use of s. sathiaseelan, 2020.

This document is authorized for use only by sainesh sathiaseelan in Badm 537-01 Legal, Ethical, & Social Environment-1-1-1 taught by Daniel Kanyam, University of the Cumberlands from Jul
2020 to Jan 2021.

Page 10 9B16C045

EXHIBIT 3 (CONTINUED)

SCOPE OF POSITION

 There are 17 Residence Assistant positions open to residents who can commit a significant amount
of energy to this student leadership position.

 An RA must be a registered full-time student, have 2.0 GPA or higher, and have completed a
Standard First Aid Program before assuming their duties.

 Incumbents are required to pay all applicable residence fees.

Mandatory Residence Life Staff Leadership Development Institutes will take place in mid-August as well as
additional sessions in October/November and January.

Source: Adapted by the author from MacEwan University internal documents.

EXHIBIT 4: MACEWAN HUMAN RESOURCES VISION

Human Resources understands that MacEwan is a community of Faculty and Staff, working together to
foster student success and student contribution. We understand that it is through the individual and
collaborative efforts of Faculty and Staff that the Vision and Mission of Grant MacEwan University will be
fulfilled and through our individual and collective actions that the Values of MacEwan are exemplified.

Human Resources, working in partnership with stakeholders throughout the University, is integral to the
fulfillment of the University’s Vision, Mission and Values; supporting the overall student learning experience
through the purposeful application of best workplace practices to offer a workplace that is challenging,
diverse and fulfilling.

Human Resources Team members are committed to fostering a healthy work culture and environment that:
attracts and engages excellent Faculty and Staff, respects and integrates their diverse contributions,
nurtures accountability and fairness, develops capacity to pursue excellence, and proactively addresses
safety, wellness and other work-related needs; while helping to prepare MacEwan and members of the
MacEwan community for the challenges of tomorrow.

Note: The values referred to in this vision statement are the following MacEwan University Pillars: Students First; Personal
Learning Experiences; Quality Education; An Engaged University; At the Heart of the City; Sustainability; Student-Engaged
Research; and the MacEwan University Spirit.

Source: “Mission and Vision,” MacEwan University, accessed June 1, 2016,
www.macewan.ca/wcm/Administrative/HumanResources/MissionandVision/index.htm#2.

For the exclusive use of s. sathiaseelan, 2020.

This document is authorized for use only by sainesh sathiaseelan in Badm 537-01 Legal, Ethical, & Social Environment-1-1-1 taught by Daniel Kanyam, University of the Cumberlands from Jul
2020 to Jan 2021.




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