New California bill to protect college athletes is long overdue

Aaron Tolentino, Sports editor

California assemblymember Rob Bonta introduced bill AB 2220 last Friday that will expand scholarship protection for thousands of college athletes across the state, including to those who get injured.

The official press release statement said, “AB 2220 will expand the Student Athlete Bill of Rights to all California schools that offer athletic scholarships. This bill will ensure that college athletes at over 40 schools across California are able to complete their studies even if they get injured.”

Injuries are a part of sports. It’s just that simple. Every athlete deals with it. From the best player on the team to the worse, it can happen to anybody. Nobody in the history of sports is immune to it.

For colleges to take scholarships, an education away from young men and women because they had an unfortunate injury while doing the sport the school had called upon them for, is horribly unfair.

Think of it like this.

In the workplace, there is such a thing as worker’s compensation. For example, if an employee accidentally breaks his or her hand on the job, the employer can’t just fire the employee because they will be ‘useless’ to the company in a given period of time. Employers still have to give the worker benefits until he or she is well enough to get back to work.

Why couldn’t it be the same for college athletes this whole time?

Instead of colleges dumping athletes and stripping away their scholarship money due to an injury, give them time to recover so that athlete can produce for the school later on.

In my brief time covering baseball and football at the community college level, I have encountered athletes who received NCAA Division I scholarships out of high school, but only to get injured in their first year and essentially be forced to go back to community college and prove themselves again in hopes to be recruited by a Division I program.

That is simply not right.

Schools should give their scholarship athletes a year to recover from injury and if they do not get better during the allotted time, then it would be plausible to strip that scholarship away. But stripping the scholarship the second the injured player is out for the season? That’s ridiculous.

Major props to Bonta for introducing this long overdue bill that prior to it, plagued student-athletes across California.

“We must ensure that California protects our college athletes and empowers them to be successful both in the classroom and on the field,” said Bonta in a press release statement on the bill.

Bonta is right on the money.

All these individuals are called “student-athletes” for a reason. They are students first and athletes second, let’s not forget that.