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California Will Be 1st State To Mandate Financial Protection To Student Athletes

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Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – California will become the first state to mandate financial protections for student athletes who suffer career-ending injuries in some of the state’s top college sports programs under a bill Gov. Jerry Brown announced signing Thursday.

SB1525 protects athletes at the four universities that receive more than $10 million annually in sports media revenue — the University of Southern California, UCLA, Berkeley and Stanford.

They will have to give academic scholarships to students who lose their athletic scholarships if they are injured while playing their sport. They also will have to cover insurance deductibles and pay health care premiums for low-income athletes, among other provisions.

The legislation requires the universities to pay future medical costs for on-the-field injuries, providing student-athletes with the kind of guarantees that even some professional athletes don’t receive.

“Neither personal injury nor poverty should dim the dreams of a student-athlete pursuing a college degree, particularly when their performance has enriched their college,” Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, said in a statement.

Of the four schools, only Stanford objected to the final version of the bill, saying it is unfair to include only the top money-generating universities. Padilla said his bill eventually could affect San Diego State University, as well, because it recently switched to a different conference with more lucrative television rights.

His legislation was one of several higher education bills the governor announced signing.

Another, AB970, would require the University of California and California State University systems to provide public notice and consult with students before raising tuition.

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