CSUs exempt from ‘Athlete’s Bill of Rights’ to cover college costs for student athletes

Luis Rivas

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A new California bill would allow university student athletes to get their tuition including their full cost of attendance paid in full and an additional yearly stipend from state universities that meet certain requirements in an effort to provide more aid and protection for student athletes.

Senate Bill 1525, authored by Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) and dubbed “The Athletic Bill of Rights,” is being sponsored by the National College Players Association (NCPA). It was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in September of last year.

The bill requires California universities in the Pacific-12 Conference (Pac-12), which participates in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) Division I, to pay student athlete’s tuition, full cost of attendance and an additional $3,600 per year.

Currently, there are no CSU schools in the Pac-12.

Pac-12 is made up of University of Arizona, Arizona State University, University of Colorado, University of Oregon, University of Utah, University of Washington, Washington State University and four schools in California: University of California, Berkeley, University of California, Los Angeles, Stanford University and University of Southern California.

“With this bill, California is leading by example. Neither personal injury nor poverty should dim the dreams of a student athlete pursuing a college degree, particularly when their performance has enriched their college,” said Senator Padilla in a press release.

Money will be coming out from Pac-12 sports media revenue, with an estimated projected increase of $6 million to $21 million per school and per year with new TV advertisement, according to the NCPA.

Stephanie Thara, a CSU spokesperson, said that since the bill only affects university campuses that generate more than $10 million per year in sports media revenue, no CSU campuses will be affected—including CSUN. Currently, no CSUs meet that threshold, Thara said.

The only schools that meet that criteria are University of Southern California, University of California, Los Angeles, Stanford and University of California, Berkeley, Mann said.

“The law only applies to schools that have more than $10 million in sports media revenue,” said John Mann, communications director for Senator Alex Padilla.

One of the key points the Padilla focused on was the vulnerability that student athletes have if they’re on an athletic scholarship and they get injured and subsequently lose that scholarship. This bill would protect those athletes by giving them academic scholarships.

Additionally, Padilla’s bill would require schools to provide more scholarship opportunities for injured athletes, cover all deductibles related to sports injuries, pay health care premiums for low-income student athletes, conduct “life skills” workshops for freshman and junior athletes and provide more care for all student athletes.

But since CSUN does not meet the criteria of necessary sports media revenue as mentioned in the bill, some student athletes see it as being of little importance.

“I guess to CSUN it’s kind of almost irrelevant as an issue since we don’t create enough revenue to be covered by the law,” said Leni Ma’ia’i, 19, freshman middle blocker in the men’s volleyball team. “We’re in the volleyball team and there’s limited scholarships…The NCAA guidelines limit the number of scholarships, and there’s not enough revenue in the school.”

Additionally, Ma’ia’I sees CSUN as being a school in which sports overall are not as much of an issue as other, bigger schools, such as UCLA. Not a lot of students come out to the games, he said.

“It’s a result of the culture of the school. We’re living in more of an anonymous culture than, say, one of the bigger schools like UCLA.” he said. “It’s a product of the environment. It’s never going to be a real, communal, unified atmosphere (at CSUN) unless that whole culture of commuting goes away, if the school started to become better and more advertising in sports, basketball, football—which we don’t even have.”