Let’s continue the Player Benefits list. Player Benefits are subtracted directly from Player Cost Amounts to get to the annual Salary Cap number for each NFL Club. Only until we reach that level of understanding can we move forward with specifically how NFL GM’s maneuver and manage the financial constraints placed upon building an annual NFL roster.
The Tuition Assistance Plan
The League and the Player’s Union have gone out of their way to ensure that funds from the NFL go directly towards the ongoing education or completion of a college degree by eligible NFL players. Bottom line, there’s no excuse not to take full advantage of this generous opportunity.
As paraphrased from the CBA;
The Tuition Assistance Plan will provide up to $15,000 per League Year ($20,000 for the 2015–2020) as reimbursement for tuition, fees, and books to any player who earns an average of “C” or better per semester at an eligible educational institution.
- To be eligible for reimbursement, fees must be associated with the course or courses taken, and no more than $400 in fees will be reimbursed for any semester.
- To be eligible for reimbursement, the player must have earned at least one Credited Season prior to the beginning of an academic year and be on the Active, Inactive, or Reserve/Injured roster for the first game of the NFL regular season for reimbursement for the Fall semester during that NFL season, or
- Be on the Active, Inactive, or Reserve/Injured roster for the last game of the NFL regular season for reimbursement for any other semester during that academic year.
A player not eligible for benefits but has at least one Credited Season after 2005, and has at least five Credited Seasons under the NFL Player Retirement Plan, shall be eligible to be reimbursed for up to $45,000 (up to $60,000 in the 2015–2020) of his expenses for qualifying tuition, fees and books, provided they’re incurred within 48 months of the first day of the League Year immediately following the player’s last regular or post season game.
A player who just completed his first Credited Season will be eligible to be reimbursed for a course that begins after his Club’s final game of that season and prior to the next following season provided:
- On the day the course begins, the player is under contract with a Club;
- And if any portion of the course is taught after the start of his Club’s offseason workout program, that the player does not have to travel more than 100 miles from that Club’s main practice facility to take the course.
An eligible player will be reimbursed no more than seventy five days after the player submits a certified transcript from the eligible educational institution for that semester, and receipts demonstrating payment for tuition, fees, or books.
The Gene Upshaw NFL Players Health Reimbursement Account
For each of the Plan Years a contribution will be made on behalf of the NFL Clubs.
All such contributions will be held for the exclusive benefit of Participants and their beneficiaries, and under no circumstances will any assets of the Plan ever revert to, or be used by, a Club, the League, or the NFLPA.
The 88 Benefit
*Named for former Baltimore Colts great TE John Mackey #88
The NFL and the Players’ Union established the “88 Plan,” to provide medical benefits to former Players who are vested due to their Credited Seasons or their total and permanent disability under the NFL Player Retirement Plan, and determined to have “dementia,” amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and/or Parkinson’s disease.
The Plan will reimburse, or pay for, certain costs upon the diagnosis made by a physician with experience in the field of treating dementia, ALS, and/or Parkinson’s disease. In no event will the total payments exceed $100,000 in any year ($130,000 beginning in the 2016 League Year), but in no event will benefits be paid for any month or other period of time that precedes the date the 88 Board first receives a written application requesting the benefit, provided that such written application begins the administrative process that results in the award of the benefit. The costs to be paid for an eligible player include:
- For any month in which an eligible player was admitted as an in-patient at an eligible institution for all or part of the month, institutional custodial care, institutional charges, home custodial care provided by an unrelated third party, physician services, durable medical equipment, and prescription medication, up to 1/12 of $100,000 (1/12 of $130,000 beginning in the 2016 League Year); and
- For any month in which an eligible player was not admitted as an inpatient at an eligible institution for all or part of the month, home custodial care provided by an unrelated third party, physician services, durable medical equipment, and prescription medication, up to 1/12 of $88,000 (1/12 of $118,000 beginning in the 2016 League Year).
- The maximum benefit payable for any month shall be reduced, but not below zero, by the amount of any total and permanent disability benefits paid by the NFL Player Disability Plan.
The care for and consideration of past players of the game of professional football was paramount for both sides over the last set of negotiations. The popularity and profitability of the NFL continues to fund these vital programs for the games’ aging alumni.