New bill could mean more money for CSUN’s basketball players

Assembly Member Chris Holden takes questions from the podium as he explains his new bill at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, Calif. on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023.

Lyle Yoergler, Staff Writer

Assembly Bill 252, introduced last Thursday by former SDSU basketball player and assembly member Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, would ensure that athletes are receiving a share of the revenue they earn from their universities in football and men and women’s basketball.

If this bill passes through the California Senate, it will take effect on Jan. 1, 2024, allowing for Division I athletes, including the men’s and women’s basketball athletes at CSUN, to get their share as well.

Fifty percent of the university athletics revenue would be allocated to the athletes of these programs.

In this bill are several provisions that all tie to the athletes’ well-being in a monetary and physical aspect. It caps what an athlete can make at $25,000 a year and ties up the surplus universities make, which could be a significant portion depending on the program’s earnings.

This excess revenue would be put into a post-graduation trust for athletes.

The bill also includes the College Athlete Protection Act, which establishes injury protections that stop schools from eliminating injured players’ scholarships.

Another aspect of the bill is the requirement that schools must pay for medical care for up to two years after the student-athlete’s eligibility is up.

Schools such as USC and UCLA that tend to acquire more than $50 million in revenue must cover up to four years of medical care after eligibility.

This is a significant win for heavy-contact sports like football that have players with injuries and complications years after playing for their universities.

As with all bills that go into law, AB 252 comes with accountability. If passed, the bill would require a “College Athlete Protection Panel” made up of 21 people who would oversee and enforce this legislation.

This committee will create subcommittees on agent certification, transparency in the recruitment process and health and safety.

The biggest punishments tied to not adhering to this bill pertain to the athletic director. Elimination of roster spots, sports programs in their entirety or set scholarship amounts, all while paying a coach or any official more than $500,000, results in a minimum three-year suspension without pay. Universities also cannot take away athletic scholarships, nor can they label these athletes as employees of their university.

A past bill with similar intentions to AB 252 failed in the California Senate because of gender equity concerns and adherence to Title IX regulations.

The new bill allows Title IX and revenue distribution to go hand in hand and adds flexibility to schools when coming up with the numbers needed to pay both female and male athletes fairly.

This bill, which is currently in print, has heavy support from the National College Players Association, and if passed will set a precedent that other states may follow.