State Senate OKs bill to require more support for Pac-12 athletes

The state Senate on Thursday approved a bill that would require California’sPac-12Conference universities to provide additional financial and academic support for injured and low-income athletes.

The legislation requires schools that generate an average of $10 million annually in media revenue to provide:

• 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.

The legislation, called the Student-Athlete Bill of Rights by its sponsor, state Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), was passed by a margin of 22-15. The bill will next be considered by the Assembly.

USC, UCLA, Stanford and California meet the criteria because they benefit from a share of the Pac-12’s new $3-billion media contract.

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.

“I’d like to provide these benefits for all student-athletes,” Padilla said in a telephone interview after the vote. “I think eventually we will get to that point.”

Dan Guerrero, UCLA’s athletic director, said in a statement only that he was monitoring the process. Pat Haden, USC’s athletic director, did not return a message seeking comment.