College Athletes’ Civil Rights Act Passes First Policy Committee

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Sacramento (CA) - Assemblymember Chris Holden’s College Athletes Civil Rights Act of 2018, Assembly Bill 2747, passed the California State Assembly Committee on Higher Education today. The recently amended version of Assembly Bill 2747 allows college athletes to receive earnings through a degree completion fund, and creates safeguards for college athletes from abuses by college coaches, trainers, and other athletic staff.

“Our ultra-idealized concept of amateurism in college sports is myth that enables the status quo, and consequently the NCAA implements rules that harm college athletes physically, emotionally, and financially,” said Assemblymember Chris Holden who also played NCAA Division I basketball at California State University, San Diego.

College athletes may spend more than 40 hours per week on sport-related activities and expose themselves to life-threatening and life-altering injuries. Additionally they are often directed to pursue majors that allow greater flexibility in scheduling or that are perceived to present fewer academic challenges to their sports eligibility, yet fail to earn a college degree in certain sports, and do not receive equitable compensation for their athletic labor.

Holden’s legislation would allow a higher education institution to create a degree completion fund whereby college athletes could receive income while competing and retain their amateur status. The athletes would be able to access the fund upon graduation or when they no longer are eligible to participate in college sports in order to fund their education.  

"This legislation can empower California colleges to solve graduation rate problems, alleviate racial disparities, help pay for medical expenses associated with chronic sports injuries, and advance college athletes towards the economic freedoms that California grants other students and citizens,” said Ramogi Huma, National College Players Association Executive Director and President of the College Athletes Players Association.

Assembly Bill 2747 strengthens provisions that protect college athletes from some of the worst abuses seen on college campuses such as sexual assault. University officials were aware of allegations of sexual abuses but never reported any of it to law enforcement at Penn State University with Jerry Sandusky and Michigan State University with Larry Nassar. This bill would designate NCAA employees, coaching staff, and other university officials as mandated reporters and require them to report to law enforcement agencies any abuse or neglect.

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