California Schools Could Be Banned from NCAA Championships if Athlete Compensation Bill Passes

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The NCAA is warning that California schools could be banned from participating in championships if a bill allowing compensation for student-athletes is signed into state law.

The organization that governs college athletics sent a letter to the chairs of two State Assembly committees warning the state against the proposal, USA Today reported.

Last month, the California Senate passed a bill by a 31-4 vote to allow student-athletes to make money from their sport. But the NCAA immediately formed a committee to study the bill to see how it affected their rules and to “examine issues highlighted in recently proposed federal and state legislation related to student-athlete name, image, and likeness.”

In the letter to the state committee heads, NCAA President Mark Emmert warned that the proposed legislation runs contrary to the organization’s current rules.

“We recognize all of the efforts that have been undertaken to develop this bill in the context of complex issues related to the current collegiate model that have been the subject of litigation and much national debate,” Emmert wrote. “Nonetheless, when contrasted with current NCAA rules, as drafted the bill threatens to alter materially the principles of intercollegiate athletics and create local differences that would make it impossible to host fair national championships. As a result, it likely would have a negative impact on the exact student-athletes it intends to assist.”

Emmert asked the state to postpone consideration of the bill until the NCAA can assess the proposal.

The bill is set for a hearing before the Assembly’s Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media Committee. If the bill advances, its next committee in the California House it will be the Higher Education Committee.

During the debate last month, Republican Senator Jeff Stone warned the upper chamber that the bill could result in the state’s schools being excluded from the championships.

Stone noted that the bill would place schools “in direct conflict with NCAA policies on compensation,” he said adding, “This bill could result in our students and campuses being unable to participate in intercollegiate sports. It seems like it’s a bill that would be more appropriate to entertain at the federal level.”

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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