Radical CA bill on college sports fails to clear Senate committee

Radical CA bill on college sports fails to clear Senate committee

A California Senate bill that would have radically changed the economics of college sports in California failed to pass through the Appropriations committee on Thursday — a major legislative victory for Division I universities in the state.

The development means SB-1401, the “College Athlete Race and Gender Equity Act,” is dead for the Senate’s current legislative session.

Sponsored by Senator Steven Bradford, the bill had immense support from the National College Players Association (NCPA), an athlete-advocacy group led by former UCLA linebacker Ramogi Huma.

The NCPA, which is backed by the U.S. Steelworkers, could push forward new legislation in 2023 with the same goal: To give football and basketball players a slice of the cash they help generate.

On its Twitter feed, the NCPA stated:

“Unfortunately CA SB 1401, which would pay college athletes w degree completion funds, was held in committee & won’t go forward. The legislative session isn’t over however, we’ll keep you updated. Thanks to @SteveBradford for authoring this bill and fighting for our rights!”

Had SB-1401 become law, it would have created a revenue-sharing arrangement between California universities and athletes in the money-making sports.

Millions of dollars typically used to support athletic department operations instead would have been moved into “degree completion funds” for the players.

Those requirements would have placed California schools at a significant financial disadvantage, created Title IX complications and threatened the long-term viability of Olympic sports.

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Asked for a reaction to SB-1401 stalling in committee, an industry source offered the following response:

“While most view this bill, and college athletics generally, through the lens of high-major football and men’s basketball athletes, this outcome is a win — for now — for the other 80 or so percent of student-athletes in the state, especially women’s athletes, as well as non-power programs.

“This bill would have eviscerated non-revenue sports in California and disproportionately harmed women’s athletes.”

An analysis published by the Appropriations Committee projected an economic impact of $34 million to $36 million annually for the University of California and $1 million to $9.3 million annually for the California State University.

The CSU’s analysis also concluded that “the redistribution of revenues will be disproportional to male and female athletes and could cause its institutions to be out of compliance with federal Title IX requirements.”

The Pac-12 declined to comment.

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