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January 19, 2004

NCAA Acts To Keep California In The Fold


California’s proposed Bill 193 provoked much discussion at the recent NCAA convention. The bill would require D1 schools to pay student-athletes the full cost of attendance. The supplemental payments would go toward emergency travel and some out-of-season medical expenses for athletes for injuries that linger after the season. Another key provision would allow athletes to earn money from work not related to their sport (the current restriction on earning money could be seen as an illogical disincentive) . The bill would also allow athletes to hire agents while still in school and to transfer when a coach leaves a program.


The California bill proposes $2400 per year that would make up for the shortfall of existing full scholarship grants. Several other states have been considering similar supplemental stipends to help  cover the full cost of attendance, including Nebraska, Colorado, Texas and Oklahoma.


Tom Hansen, Pac-10 commissioner, said that if the bill became law, California schools with major athletic programs like Southern California, UCLA and Stanford, would be ousted from the NCAA the first time a program allowed agents to represent players or players to transfer without sitting out a season.


The bill passed the California Senate by a 26-10 vote last spring and is being considered by the Committee on Higher Education. If the bill makes it out of that committee, the Assembly could send it to Gov. Schwarzenegger for passage into law.  (NY Times  1-14-04)