PASADENA, Calif. (AP) – A California lawmaker introduced a bill Thursday that would require schools that play major college sports to pay some athletes as much as $25,000 annually to cover the cost of six years of guaranteed athletic scholarships and post-college scholarships. medical expenses
The College Athlete Protection Act is sponsored by Assemblyman Chris Holden, a former San Diego State basketball player, and is state legislation the NCAA is seeking to preempt federal legislatures.
“I know how close you can come to an injury taking away not only the game you love, but your chance to finish college,” Holden said at a press conference outside the historic Rose Bowl Stadium.
California was the first state to pass a law in 2019 giving college athletes the right to be compensated for their name, image and likeness. This prompted similar actions by state legislatures across the country.
Holden is eager to bring the state back to the fore.
“I’m not willing to wait for Congress to deal with this serious problem,” he said, standing in front of a bronze statue of Jackie Robinson, the UCLA multi-sport star. “This is a very competitive and comprehensive bill that I believe will provide the revenue and health care services that our college athletes deserve.”
The NCAA has removed athletes from charging their reputations with endorsements and endorsement deals, but more than two dozen state NIL laws have made it impossible for the association to create its own specific, uniform rules.
At the NCAA convention last week, college athletic leaders reiterated the need for Congressional support to regulate NIL compensation and protect the association from state laws that limit its ability to govern college sports.
“We need to reinforce that federal law preempts state law as it relates to college sports,” Baylor President Linda Livingstone, chair of the NCAA’s Board of Governors, said last week. “In fields like NIL, we already see that state legislators will take measures that they believe will give universities in their states a competitive edge with their neighbors.”
Assembly Bill 252 – introduced by Holden, a Democrat whose district includes Pasadena – requires California Division I schools to share 50 percent of their revenue with athletes deemed underserved because the amount of athletic scholarships does not match market value. . This would primarily target, but not limited to, athletes who compete in income generating sports such as football and basketball.
“This is a bill that will end the blatant exploitation of college athletes in California,” said Ramogi Huma, executive director of the National College Players Association. “The NCAA’s economic model is illegal and based on racial injustice. The NCAA uses amateurism as a cover to systematically siphon off generational wealth from top black athletes from lower-income households to pay the lavish salaries of predominantly white coaches, athletic directors, commissioners and NCAA administrators.
The money paid for the scholarship would be included in the 50% given to the players. The rest would go into a fund that would pay out annually. Individual payments would be determined by what the schools bring in and could not exceed $25,000 per year for an athlete.
Excess revenue from the athletes’ fee would be put into a title completion fund that the athletes would be entitled to withdraw over a six-year period.
“It’s going to make things better, not just for football players, but for all student-athletes at the college level, which is great,” said Elisha Guidry, a San Jose State graduate student and football player who joined Holden in the announcement. invoice
“I came here and college sports were a certain way and when I finish my career I would like to think that college sports are better and going in a better direction in the future,” said Guidry, who previously played at UCLA. before graduating last year.
The bill would provide schools with coverage for sports-related medical expenses, establish and enforce safety standards and transparency in hiring, preserve all athletic programs – not just revenue-generating ones – and Title IX. It requires completion of the title.
Joining Holden at the Rose Bowl was Amy LeClair, a 2017 San Jose State graduate who competed in gymnastics. He said he was bullied and manipulated by his coaches, and that the program’s head coach sexually assaulted him during his career.
“Universities have not earned the privilege of acting without scrutiny or the benefit of the doubt,” LeClair said. “I never imagined that the very system designed to protect me would be the source of my exploitation. This is what drives me to sit here today to help advocate for NCAA athlete protections.”
The bill recalls one introduced in 2020 by four Democratic senators, including New Jersey’s Cory Booker, called the College Athlete Bill of Rights.
That bill, like many others introduced in Congress related to college sports and specifically the NIL, went nowhere.
Holden introduced the College Athlete Civil Rights Act of 2019, which was eventually signed into state law. This required schools to document and notify athletes of their rights and prohibited retaliation against athletes who reported violations or abuse.
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