Four California universities with big-time sports programs are fighting a legislative effort that could radically change the way schools recruit, educate and retain student athletes.
The schools are opposing the "Student Athlete Bill of Rights," they say, because it would be too expensive, put their programs at a competitive disadvantage and may go against NCAA rules.
Senate Bill 1525, by Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, would require schools earning more than $10 million a year in media revenue from athletic programs to continue an athlete's scholarship if he or she is no longer able to participate in athletics, and would allow athletes to switch schools without restriction. The bill also would force schools to provide student athletes with life skills and financial workshops and pay health care premiums for low-income individuals.
"It's evident to me we're losing focus on the mission of the university itself," Padilla said. Student athletes, he added, "should be competing second to getting an education."