New California bill demands better protections for college athletes

Assemblyman Chris Holden announces the College Athlete Protections Bill during a news conference with football player Elisha Guidry and gymnast Amy LeClair and Ramogi Huma, executive director of the National College Players Association, second from right, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Thursday, January 19, 2023. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Assemblyman Chris Holden announces the College Athlete Protections Bill during a news conference at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Thursday, January 19, 2023. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Assemblyman Chris Holden announces the College Athlete Protections Bill during a news conference with football player Elisha Guidry and gymnast Amy LeClair and Ramogi Huma, executive director of the National College Players Association, second from right, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Thursday, January 19, 2023. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

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Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, held a news conference outside the gates of Rose Bowl Stadium, near the Jackie Robinson statue, to kick off introduction of his College Athlete Protections Act on Thursday, Jan. 20.

The bill would require schools that play major college sports to pay some athletes as much as $25,000 annually, along with covering the cost of six-year guaranteed athletic scholarships and post-college medical expenses.

California was the first to pass a law that gave college athletes the right to be compensated for name, image and likeness back in 2019, and Holden hopes the state can set precedence once again.

“California college athletes are able to benefit from their name, image, and likeness, but I believe we can do more. … I believe this bill will provide income and health services that college athletes deserve,” he said.

He was joined by college athletes Amy LeClair and Elisha Guidry. LeClair was a gymnast for San Jose State who has alleged that her coaches “manipulated and bullied” her and filed a lawsuit in response.

“I have witnessed firsthand the depths and complexities of institutional cover ups. Universities have not earned the privilege of operating unchecked. Nor have they earned the benefit of the doubt,” LeClair said.

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Elisha Guidry is a San Jose State football player and graduate student who started the Black Student Athlete Alliance. The former UCLA athlete shared that both his father and uncle played football and that this movement is “progress in the right direction.”

Dr. Ramogi Huma, executive director of the National College Players Association, shared his disappointment with the NCAA and its lack of initiative to aid athletes.

“It’s a bill that will end the blatant exploitation of California’s college athletes,” Huma said, “The NCAA sports is a predatory industry that treats players like university property rather than people.”

The news conference was live-streamed on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/1256965758366093/.

 

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