California bill calls for revenue sharing in college sports | Pro Sports

California bill calls for revenue sharing in college sports | Pro Sports

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — A California lawmaker on Thursday introduced a bill that would require schools that play major varsity sports to pay certain athletes up to $25,000 a year, as well as cover the cost of scholarships. athletics guarantees over six years and post-graduate studies. medical fees.

The College Athlete Protection Act is sponsored by Assemblyman Chris Holden, who is a former San Diego State basketball player, and is the type of state-level legislation that the NCAA expects federal lawmakers to implement. anticipate.

“I know how close you can be to injury, taking away not only the game you love to play, but also your chance to finish college,” Holden told a news conference outside the historic stadium. of the Rose Bowl.

California was the first state to pass a law that gave college athletes the right to be compensated for their name, image and likeness in 2019. It sparked similar action by state legislatures across the country.

Holden can’t wait for the state to be front and center again.

“I’m not prepared to wait for Congress to address this pressing issue,” he said, standing in front of a bronze statue of Jackie Robinson, who was a multi-sport star at UCLA. “This is an extremely competitive and comprehensive bill that I believe will provide the revenue and health services that our college athletes deserve.”

The NCAA lifted its ban on athletes profiting from fame with sponsorship and endorsement deals, but more than two dozen state-level NIL laws have prevented the association from creating its own detailed rules and regulations. uniforms.

Just last week at the NCAA convention, college athletic leaders reiterated the need for congressional help in regulating NIL compensation and protecting the association from state laws that undermine its ability to govern college sport.

“We need to solidify that when it comes to college sports, federal law prevails over state law,” Baylor president Linda Livingstone, chair of the NCAA board of governors, said last week. “In areas such as NIL, we are already seeing state legislators take steps that they believe will give universities in their states a competitive advantage over their neighbors.”

Assembly Bill 252 — introduced by Holden, a Democrat whose district includes Pasadena — asks California’s Division I schools to share 50% of revenue with athletes deemed undervalued because the amount of their athletic scholarships do not match their market value. This would primarily be aimed at athletes participating in revenue-generating sports such as football and basketball, but not exclusively.

“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 business model is illegal and based on racial injustice. The NCAA uses amateurism as a cover to systematically remove the generational wealth of predominantly black athletes from low-income households to pay the lavish salaries of predominantly white NCAA coaches, athletic directors, commissioners and administrators.

Money paid for scholarships would be included in the 50% that goes to players. The rest would go into a fund that would pay out annually. Individual payments would be determined based on what schools bring in and could not exceed $25,000 per year for an athlete.

Any excess revenue from athletes would go into a graduation fund that athletes could draw upon after graduating within six years.

“This is going to make things better, not just for football players, but for all student-athletes at the college level, which is great,” said San Jose State graduate student and football player Elisha Guidry. , who joined Holden in announcing the bill.

“I came here and college sports was a certain way and I’d like to think that when I’m done with my career, college sports are better and moving in a better direction in the future,” said Guidry, who previously played at UCLA. before graduating last year.

The bill also calls on schools to cover sports-related medical costs, establish and enforce safety and transparency standards in recruiting, preserve all sports programs – not just those that generate revenue – and to comply with Title IX.

Amy LeClair, a 2017 San Jose State graduate who competed in gymnastics, also joined Holden at the Rose Bowl. She said she was bullied and manipulated by her coaches and sexually assaulted by the program’s head coach during her career.

“Universities haven’t earned the privilege of operating 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. That’s what prompted me to sit here today to help advocate for the protection of NCAA athletes. »

The bill is reminiscent of one introduced in 2020 at the federal level by four Democratic senators, including Cory Booker of New Jersey, called the College Athlete Bill of Rights.

This bill, similar to many others introduced in Congress regarding college sports and specifically 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 inform athletes of their rights and prohibited retaliation against athletes who reported violations or abuses.

Russo reported from New York.

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