Today's Law As Amended

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AB-1435 The College Athlete Protection Act.(2017-2018)

As Amends the Law Today


 Chapter 15.8 (commencing with Section 67394) is added to Part 40 of Division 5 of Title 3 of the Education Code, to read:

CHAPTER  15.8. The College Athlete Protection Act
Article  1. Title
 This chapter shall be known, and may be cited, as the College Athlete Protection Act.
Article  2. Findings
 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Maximizing safety, transparency, and a quality education for intercollegiate athletes should be a priority for intercollegiate sports programs, conferences, and associations, and the state.
(b) Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a serious and degenerative neurological disease, is linked to playing contact sports, including field hockey, football, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, and wrestling.
(c) Athletic governing authorities, including the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA), the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA), and the state need to work together to establish the best comprehensive standards to protect college athletes from serious injuries.
(d) Athletic conferences and athletic associations should adopt comprehensive best practices to reduce the risk of CTE, hazards associated with the misuse of prescription painkillers, and other serious injuries.
(e) Intercollegiate sports programs, including coaches and team medical staff, should collaborate together for the benefit of a college athlete’s overall well-being.
(f) A college athlete faces intense pressure to return to play when he or she is injured. A proper oversight system and return-to-play protocols designed to ensure college athlete safety provides protection for both athletes and athletic programs.
(g) Student sexual abuse is an important issue on college campuses, as evidenced by the United States Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights investigating claims of student sexual abuse at 120 campuses. At least 10 of the colleges investigated are located in California. Creating an independent state authority with the ability to address college athlete abuse, including supporting a police inquiry and conducting an independent investigation, will help ensure perpetrators of college athlete abuse are identified and held accountable.
(h) A 2015 study conducted by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) shows that college athletes in Division I, Division II, and Division III NCAA athletic programs report increased time commitments to their collegiate sports, with football, baseball, and softball college athletes documenting nearly 40 hours per week or more of in-season time commitments.
(i) A lack of uniform safeguards will continue to subject college athletes to higher risks of poor graduation rates, serious injury, and death.
Article  3. Definitions
 For the purposes of this chapter, the following terms have the following meanings:
(a) “Athletic association” means an association of athletic conferences or institutions of higher education.
(b) “Athletic conference” means an entity comprised of institutions of higher education that is a member of an athletic association.
(c) “Athletic program” means an intercollegiate athletic program at an institution of higher education. Club and intramural programs are excluded.
(d) “College athlete” means a college or university student who participates in an athletic program.
(e) “Institution of higher education” means, notwithstanding Section 67400, a campus of the University of California, the California State University, a four-year private university or independent institution of higher education located in California, or a public or private two-year college located in California that maintains an athletic program.
(f) “NCAA” means the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
(g) “Panel” means the panel, established pursuant to Section 67394.3, to administer the program.
(h) “Personnel” means one or more representatives of an athletic association, an athletic conference, or an institution of higher education, including an athletic program employee, coach, assistant, or affiliated health care professional.
Article  4. College Athlete Protection Program
 (a) The College Athlete Protection Program is hereby established as a program in the State Department of Education for the administration of this act.
(b) (1) The College Athlete Protection Program shall be administered by a panel. Members of the panel shall be appointed as follows:
(A) Three members appointed by the Governor.
(B) Four members appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly.
(C) Four members appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules.
(2) (A) The panel members appointed pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be part-time positions. One member shall be appointed by majority vote of the members to serve as chairperson of the panel. All of the following areas of expertise, with no two members having the same expertise, shall be considered when appointing members:
(i) Sports medicine.
(ii) Traumatic brain injury in contact sports.
(iii) Athletic strength and conditioning training.
(iv) Athlete abuse.
(v) College academic advising.
(vi) College athletics governance and reform.
(vii) Sports economics.
(viii) Athlete protection advocacy by a former female college athlete.
(ix) Athlete protection advocacy by a former male college athlete.
(B) The State Department of Education shall hire and set compensation for a College Athlete Protection Program director. The director shall be a full-time position. The department shall hire additional staff to implement the requirements of this chapter.
(C) Each panel member and the program director hired pursuant to subparagraph (B) shall serve a four-year term of office, with no term limits. A panel member and the program director may be reappointed to his or her position, or a new position, pursuant to this subdivision.
(D) A panel member appointee or the program director shall not have served as personnel within the one year immediately preceding his or her appointment.
(E) Current personnel are not eligible to serve on the panel or as the program director.
(3) The diversity of California, including its gender diversity, shall be considered when appointing panel members.
 (a) The panel shall have all of the following duties:
(1) Gather input from relevant stakeholders to establish, and disseminate to every athletic association, athletic conference, and institution of higher education, both of the following:
(A) Best practices to minimize injuries and ensure transparency of injury treatment options.
(B) Up-to-date information about pivotal sports-related health risks.
(2) Develop policy guidelines and mandates. These guidelines and mandates, at minimum, shall ensure that all of the following occurs:
(A) Medical records for all treatments of a college athlete by personnel in the course of the college athlete’s participation in an athletic program shall be maintained for a period of 10 years after the college athlete leaves the program and shall be timely provided to him or her upon request.
(B) There is transparency on college athlete protections and the prevention of deceptive or fraudulent business practices that harm college athletes.
(3) Conduct surveys of college athletes and personnel.
(4) Perform compliance inspections as determined by the panel.
(5) Exercise subpoena power, if necessary, to obtain information necessary to carry out its duties under this chapter.
(6) Hold quarterly meetings.
(7) Distribute, commencing in 2021, on or before January 1 of each year, an annual report to each institution of higher education, athletic conference, and athletic association and to the Legislature, pursuant to Section 9795 of the Government Code, regarding the state of college athlete protections under this chapter.
(8) Determine which of its guidelines, materials, and other information may benefit high school athletes, high school sports programs, and the California Interscholastic Federation, and make them available and easily accessible to the public.
(9) Consider collaborative and cost-reduction efforts with other states, local governments, intercollegiate sports conferences, and associations to improve the treatment of intercollegiate athletes in other states.
(10) Create advisory boards, as needed, comprised of unpaid volunteer individuals and organizations with expertise relevant to the implementation of this chapter. The University of California and the California State University may have at least one representative, with expertise, from their respective segments serve on each advisory board established pursuant to this paragraph.
(11) Use fees with legislative approval from the College Athlete Protection Act Fund, established in subdivision (e) of Section 67394.7, to execute its duties under this chapter.
(12) Develop processes for it to receive, track, and investigate complaints regarding suspected violations of this chapter.
(13) Issue penalties pursuant to Section 67394.6 and remedies for violations of this chapter, and pass all relevant information regarding its investigations to the appropriate athletic conferences.
(b) The panel shall adopt regulations to implement this chapter.
Article  5. College Athlete Protections
 (a) Individuals, including college athletes or other students, who report suspected violations of this chapter shall have whistleblower protection. Personnel who retaliate against these individuals shall be subject to penalties pursuant to Section 67394.6.
(b) Personnel who knowingly provide false information or attempt to obstruct an investigation by the panel of a violation of this chapter shall be subject to penalties pursuant to Section 67394.6.
(c) Personnel who reduce or cancel the athletic participation or eligibility of, impose a financial penalty or penalties on, or otherwise retaliate against, a college athlete, an institution of higher education, an athletic conference, or an athletic association, or other personnel for complying with this chapter shall be subject to penalties pursuant to Section 67394.6.
(d) (1) By January 1, 2020, personnel shall be deemed mandated reporters required to report each instance of reasonably suspected violations of this chapter to the panel. Personnel failing to comply with mandated reporting requirements shall be subject to penalties pursuant to Section 67394.6.
(2) All reports of suspected violations of this chapter before the panel commences its initial operations shall be made to the Department of Justice and directly forwarded by the department to the program director, hired pursuant to subparagraph (B) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 67394.3, once the panel commences its initial operations.
(e) (1) By January 1, 2020, each institution of higher education, athletic conference, and athletic association shall comply with all of the following:
(A) Inform its personnel of their responsibilities and college athlete protections established by or pursuant to this chapter.
(B) Inform college athletes of their rights and protections under this chapter, including all guidelines and mandates adopted by the panel pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 67394.4, if any, and inform them of their right to report suspected violations of this chapter to a mandated reporter of their choice pursuant to subdivision (d), the Department of Justice, or the panel once it commences its initial operations.
(C) Designate at least one employee to oversee compliance with this chapter and to serve as a point of contact for the panel.
(2) Each institution of higher education, athletic conference, and athletic association shall annually inform its personnel and college athletes pursuant to subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph (1) before the start of each academic year.
 (a) In addition to any other remedy or penalty authorized under existing law, an institution of higher education, or its personnel, or both who commit a violation of this chapter shall be subject to penalties established pursuant to regulations adopted by the panel. Penalties may include any, or any combination, including all, of the following:
(1) Civil penalties.
(2) Temporary or permanent prohibition from employment at institutions of higher education.
(3) Other penalties imposed by the panel.
(b) The panel shall consider all of the following factors when establishing penalties for a violation of this chapter:
(1) The number and duration of violations.
(2) Whether the violation was the result of an intentional or negligent action.
(3) The nature and extent of harm caused by the violation.
Article  6. Financial Provisions
 (a) Institutions of higher education with athletic programs that were members of the NCAA in 2016 shall pay annual fees, in an amount determined by the panel pursuant to subdivision (b), to cover the reasonable regulatory costs of this chapter, not to exceed four million dollars ($4,000,000) in aggregate total, to be deposited into the Athlete Protection Act Fund established in subdivision (e). The panel may increase the aggregate total to account for inflation.
(b) The panel shall base the annual fees described in subdivision (a) on the number of full-time employee coaches reported in the most recently published United States Department of Education’s Equity in Athletics Disclosure report. The panel shall establish the annual fees pursuant to all of the following requirements and may adjust these fees, without exceeding the aggregate maximum determined pursuant to subdivision (a).
(1) Athletic programs with 1 to 6.99, inclusive, full-time employee coaches shall each pay annually up to a maximum of two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500).
(2) Athletic programs with 7 to 14.99, inclusive, full-time employee coaches shall each pay annually up to a maximum of five thousand dollars ($5,000).
(3) Athletic programs with 15 to 29.99, inclusive, full-time employee coaches shall each pay annually up to a maximum of twelve thousand dollars ($12,000).
(4) Athletic programs with 30 to 44.99, inclusive, full-time employee coaches shall each pay annually up to a maximum of sixty thousand dollars ($60,000).
(5) Athletic programs with 45 to 59.99, inclusive, full-time employee coaches shall each pay annually up to a maximum of eighty thousand dollars ($80,000).
(6) Athletic programs with 60 or more full-time employee coaches shall each pay annually up to a maximum of six hundred thousand dollars ($600,000).
(7) Notwithstanding paragraphs (1) to (6), inclusive, two-year institutions of higher education with one or more full-time employee coaches shall each pay annually up to a maximum of one thousand dollars ($1,000).
(c) The College Athlete Protection Act Fund is hereby established in the State Treasury. Fees received pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be deposited in the fund and appropriated by the Legislature to the panel for the purposes of this chapter.
Article  7. Miscellaneous
 (a) The provisions of this chapter are severable. If any provision of this chapter or its application is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application.
(b) This chapter shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2023, and as of that date is repealed.