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Bill to require California-based Pac-12 schools to support athletes passes state senate

Jun 8, 2012, 12:40 AM EDT

Alex Padilla, Darrell Steinberg

Much has been made about whether or not student-athletes receive as much support as they should from the schools the play for.

On Thursday, California took what could be an important step in that regard as a bill requiring the state’s Pac-12 schools to offer greater support was approved by the California state Senate.

The immediate question would be why this bill is limited to the four Pac-12 schools located in California.

The reason: those schools (California, Stanford, UCLA and USC) have the means to offer more support thanks to the new $3 billion television rights deal signed by the conference.

The bill calls on schools that generate $10 million or more annually in media revenue to offer the following benefits to its student-athletes:

• Equivalent academic scholarships to athletes who are injured and lose their athletic scholarship.

• Equivalent academic scholarships to athletes who have participated in sports programs with a graduation rate of less than 60% and whose scholarship was not renewed for nondisciplinary reasons.

• Payment of healthcare insurance premiums for low-income athletes.

• Payment for deductibles and co-payments for sports-related injuries.

• Financial and life-skills workshops for all incoming athletes.

• Guidelines to prevent, assess and treat sports-related injuries and serious health conditions.

• Immediate approval of transfers, without restrictions or conditions.

Sen. Alex Padilla, who was the catalyst for what he refers to as the Student-Athlete Bill of Rights, would like to see this law applied to all institutions but acknowledged the financial difficulties of doing so.

Padilla said it would be unrealistic to require the state’s other universities to provide the additional benefits because they would have to raise tuition or student fees to cover the additional costs.

The question at this point is whether or not the Student-Athlete Bill of Rights sparks any kind of change in other states.

Connecticut passed a law that requires full disclosure to prospective student-athletes in 2011, but are these two steps enough to truly get things rolling?

And Thursday’s news simply means that the bill will get to the General Assembly, so while this is good news for those in favor of additional help for student-athletes there’s still a ways to go.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

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