Assemblymember Chris Holden (File Photo)

Assemblymember Holden’s College Athlete Civil Rights Act of 2019 passed its first policy committee on a unanimous vote. The legislation, Assembly Bill 1573, would give college athletes more tools and protection to address the challenges or abuses they may face on campus. The bill also allows schools to create a degree completion fund.

“Many college athletes are putting everything on the line and risking their bodies, and for some, one injury away from losing everything. Others are at risk of losing it all for speaking out for their team or any abuses they are experiencing as college coaches have the power to keep you on or off the team,” said Assemblymember Chris Holden. “This bill is personal for me – before I started my journey in public service, I played college basketball for San Diego State University.”

College sports are a significant source of entertainment for people around the country and pride for many California schools. At the same time, abuses and unfair policies against college athletes have made headlines and raised questions about the way college sports programs are run.

“We have an unjust situation where college athletes must comply with strenuous requirement in order to maintain scholarships or their eligibility to play, but do not have recourse to express serious complaints or abuse from athletic programs without fear of retribution,” said Holden.

Assembly Bill 1573 addresses the problem by empowering college athletes to advocate for themselves and provides protection as they do it. Specifically, the bill requires schools to inform students of their rights with documentation and public signage and prohibits retaliation by schools if a student reports violations of abuse or violation of rights.