|Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press|
|Oregon QB Marcus Mariota returns as a top contender for the Heisman Trophy.|
The latest trend in college football has nothing to do with uniforms or waterfalls in new facilities.
You see, the most popular trend in the sport has to do with the exciting world of insurance premiums. That might not sound so interesting if you're not an actuary, but it's quickly becoming part of the fabric of the game for popular stars returning to school.
Texas A&M lured top offensive lineman Cedric Ogbuehi back to College Station by using the NCAA's Student Assistance Fund to cover his insurance premiums. Baylor is also using the fund to pay for a portion of the policies for three of its top NFL draft prospects. Florida State reportedly is using the fund to cover Jameis Winston's premiums of $55,000-$60,000.
One school that isn't dipping into the Student Assistance Fund to cover its biggest star? According to CBS Sports' Jeremy Fowler, Oregon won't be covering Marcus Mariota's insurance premiums in the same fashion.
That type of factoid would normally fly under the radar as schools typically shied away from providing additional money for supplemental policies. But given the number of high-profile NFL draft prospects that have had premiums paid for by their school, the Ducks opting against doing the same for Mariota qualifies as a bit of an eyebrow raiser.
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The Hawaii native can still return to Eugene for another season after the 2014 campaign if he wants to, but most expect him to declare for the 2015 NFL Draft, where he might be one of the first quarterbacks selected. Mariota said at Pac-12 Media Days that one of the biggest reasons for his decision to return to college was the opportunity to get his degree. He didn't say whether this would be his last season with the Ducks, but he didn't deny such talk outright.
Mariota has previously said that he and his family have taken out a sizable supplemental insurance policy for the upcoming year but he has refused to disclose how much the package is worth.
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound quarterback threw for 3,665 yards last season while posting a 31-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio and is a Heisman favorite entering the 2014 season.
You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.