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Scholarship recipients are considered to be students seeking advanced educational opportunities and are not considered to be professional athletes, musicians or artists employed by the university for their skill in their respective areas.
Before attending school at Texas Christian University (TCU), appellant Alvis Kent Waldrep, Jr. signed two documents: (i) a pre-enrollment form which demonstrated his formal desire to play football for TCU; and (ii) a financial aid agreement ensuring that appellant’s room, board, and tuition would be paid while attending TCU and that he would receive ten dollars per month for incidentals. While playing football for TCU, appellant sustained a severe injury to his spinal cord and was paralyzed below the neck. He filed a workers' compensation claim for his injury. The Texas Workers' Compensation Commission entered an award in his favor. Appellee Texas Employers Insurance Association, in receivership, Texas Property and Casualty Insurance Guaranty Association appealed the award to the district court. In a trial de novo, a jury found that appellant was not an employee of TCU at the time of his injury. The district court rendered judgment in favor of appellee. Appellant challenged the decision.
Was the appellant an employee of the university at the time of his injury, thereby entitling him to workers’ compensation benefit?
The court affirmed the judgment, holding that appellant was not, as a matter of law, an employee of the university when he was injured. The court held appellant did not meet the traditional definition of employee because he did not establish that he had a contract of hire and the university did not have the right to control all the details of his work.