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California Senate OKs Bill Challenging NCAA

From Times Wire Services

The California State Senate approved a bill Thursday barring in-state colleges and universities from abiding by the NCAA’s rules on scholarships, student wages and several other topics.

“We don’t want our universities to leave the NCAA, but we do want the NCAA to change some of its rules,” said Sen. Kevin Murray, D-Culver City, a co-author of the bill. “We think the NCAA frankly should listen to us.”

The bill, sent to the Assembly by a 26-9 vote, would bar California colleges and universities from following NCAA rules on:

* Athletic scholarships and stipends.

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* Health insurance.

* Jobs not associated with sports.

* Hiring agents or attorneys to help with career choices.

* Transfers to other schools.

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* Penalties by others, such as a coach or athletic director.

Murray called the NCAA rules Draconian.

“They essentially place student athletes in a position which is equal to a sharecropper on a plantation” even though those athletes generate millions of dollars for their schools, he said.

Among Murray’s complaints were NCAA rules barring Division I schools from guaranteeing scholarships for more than one year, limiting health insurance for athletes and preventing schools from paying stipends to cover athletes’ expenses. He also criticized rules that put a $2,000-a-year limit on student job earnings and a regulation that costs a year of eligibility if a student transfers to another school.

“There are rules that say you can’t have a job during the season but that also limit scholarships to room, board and tuition,” he said. “Unless you have parents who can give you money or you’re willing to fly around the rules you don’t have money for toothpaste, toilet paper, clothes, gas, taking your girlfriend to the movies or anything.”

An NCAA spokesman, Jeff Howard, said the organization has addressed or will be addressing some of the issues raised by the bill. Those steps include consideration in January of richer scholarships for student athletes and removal in August of the cap on how much student athletes can earn from jobs.

Enactment of the bill, he said, would hurt California schools and athletes by preventing them from participating in NCAA events.

Murray said he doubted the NCAA would try to ban California schools from its events because of the money and fans the schools bring to college athletics.

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“Think of how much USC, UCLA and Stanford generate alone in terms of viewer attention,” Murray said.

Olympics

The fight against drugs in sports is in jeopardy because governments are not paying dues on time, Dick Pound, the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, said at London.

Pound said WADA may have to cut key anti-drug programs after receiving only 25% of its $20.2-million budget for 2003.

He said the agency was facing a “very serious cash shortfall” because the “overwhelming majority” of governments, including those of the U.S., Britain and Japan, had failed to pay.

Pro Football

Washington Redskin defensive tackle Jermaine Haley was arrested at Miami Beach, Fla., on charges of driving drunk.

Haley was pulled over after police officers saw him swerve into the other lane, hit a 1995 Honda and fail to stop, according to a police report.

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San Francisco 49er cornerback Jason Webster had arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle and should be completely recovered in time for training camp.

Basketball

As expected, Elton Brand, Richard Jefferson and Nick Collison were chosen to complete the roster for the U.S. basketball team that will compete in this summer’s Olympic qualifying tournament.

Collison will be the only college player on the 12-man roster. Already on the team are Kobe Bryant, Ray Allen, Tim Duncan, Jason Kidd, Tracy McGrady, Allen Iverson, Jermaine O’Neal, Mike Bibby and Karl Malone.

Andrea Stinson had 13 points to lead the Charlotte Sting to its first win of the WNBA season, 66-57, over the Indiana Fever in front of 5,008 at Charlotte, N.C.

Miscellany

Top-ranked Clemson, looking for its first NCAA men’s golf championship, shot a one-under 287 in 95-degree heat at Stillwater, Okla., moving past Oklahoma State and UCLA into first place after 54 holes.

Clemson got a three-under 69 from Matt Hendrix and par rounds from D.J. Trahan and Jack Ferguson and stood at 24-over 888 after three rounds. Oklahoma State was at 889, with UCLA and Florida tied for third at 899.

Lee Williams of Auburn retained the individual lead he has held since the start, shooting a 71 that left him at four-under 212.

International Boxing Federation cruiserweight champion James Toney has paid more than $100,000 in back child support he owed for his 10-year-old daughter. Toney was arrested Tuesday at his Sherman Oaks home on charges he had failed to pay.

Bobby Hamilton was awarded the pole position for today’s MBNA Armed Forces Family 200 race at Dover, Del., as rain washed out NASCAR Craftsman Truck qualifying at Dover International Speedway.

Three-time French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten has committed to the Mercedes-Benz Cup, July 28-Aug. 3, at the Straus Stadium of the Los Angeles Tennis Center-UCLA.

Individual tickets for the World Gymnastics Championships, to be held Aug. 16-24 at the Arrowhead Pond, go on sale Sunday. Ticket prices are $22-$75 for the event, which is the qualifying meet for the 2004 Olympics. Details: Ticketmaster at (714) 740-2000 or the Pond box office.


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