Schools and the NCAA have attempted to raise college athlete graduation rates, a subject of a previous post here. California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed a law designed to further address the graduation rate woes in certain college athletic programs, at least for four schools in his state (UCLA, USC, Stanford, and UC Berkley). The “Student-Athletes Bill of Rights” law has three features, all meant to mitigate the risk of a student athlete dropping out.
First, the law requires that student athletes get a guaranteed four-year scholarship so long as the university does not dismiss them “for cause.” The law carves out an exception that permits schools not to renew a scholarship to an un-injured athlete if it graduates more than 60% of its student athletes. Critically and wisely, the law requires schools to disaggregate their graduation rate data by sport. Aggregated graduation rate data typically hides poor baseball, football, and basketball student athlete graduation rates. The law also makes sure to name basketball and football players in its definition of student athletes. According to one report, UCLA, USC and
Photographed by: Bobak Ha'Eri
Second, the law protects students from incurring prohibitive medical costs due to an injury incurred as a result of playing the sport for which they have a scholarship. Specifically, the law requires schools to pay all medical costs for students, including insurance premiums and deductibles for low-income students.
Third, the law requires a “life skills workshop” for freshmen and juniors designed to encourage student athletes to understand debt, budgeting, and time-management.
At bottom, the law mitigates the higher risks facing student athletes due to injury and historically and currently low graduation rates. It does so by addressing both the educational and physical needs of