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Lawmakers approve financial protections for college athletes

August 22, 2012 |  2:00 pm

Athletes at colleges including UCLA and USC would not lose financial aid if they suffer serious injuries on the field under legislation approved Wednesday by the state Senate and sent to Gov. Jerry Brown for consideration.

The measure would also require California colleges that receive more than $10 million a year from sports television contracts --  also including Berkeley and Stanford -- to pay certain medical costs for student athletes with game injuries.

"California will be the first state in the nation to put into state law requirements to better protect students athletes," said Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), who introduced the bill at the request of the National College Player Assn.

The bill says that if a student’s athletic scholarship is not renewed because of incapacitating injury resulting from participation in an athletic program, the university will provide an equivalent scholarship to allow the student to complete an academic degree. 

University officials say they help students who receive injuries that end their college athletic careers, but Padilla said that is currently a choice of the university or its athletic program.

"This would put the weight of state law behind those promises, and I think it will become a recruiting advantage for California colleges and universities," Padilla said of his bill, SB 1525. Most Republicans voted against the bill, but did not speak on it before the vote.

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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento 

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