Saturday, November 9, 2013

Rensing v. Indiana State University case brief

Rensing v. Indiana State University case brief summary
437 N.E.2d 78 (1982)

Appellant athlete filed a claim with the Industrial Board of Indiana, seeking to have appellee trustees pay him benefits under the Workmen's Compensation Act, Ind. Code. § 22-3-1-1 et seq. (Act), for serious injuries suffered during a football practice at the trustees' university, where he had an athletic scholarship. The board rejected the claim, and the athlete appealed its decision.

The trustees argued that there was no contract for hire or employment within the meaning of the Act. The athlete contended that his agreement to play football was a contract within the Act.

  • The court stated that the conclusion was inescapable that the trustees did contract with the athlete to play football. 
  • The court found no merit in the trustees' suggestion that the athlete's benefits were only a gift or "grant" intended to further his education, particularly in light of the fact that the legislature had expressly recognized that scholarships or similar benefits could be viewed as pay pursuant to a "contract of hire" in the analogous context of unemployment benefits, and noted that the trustees retained their right to terminate the agreement under certain conditions. 
  • The court concluded that the athlete and the trustees bargained for an exchange in the manner of employer and employee of his football talents for certain scholarship benefits, and that the employment was not casual and was related to the university's overall business or profession of educating students.

The court reversed the board's decision rejecting the athlete's claim, and remanded for further proceedings to establish the benefits to be received.

Suggested Study Aid For Sports Law

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