SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — On the same day as the college football national championship game, California State Senator Alex Padilla announced he will be introducing legislation that would require that student-athletes injured during their college career be provided the necessary medical and financial support to complete their degree. With Senator Padilla’s effort California joins nine other states where similar legislation will be introduced.

“I am big fan of collegiate athletics. But I am also very concerned that the vast amount of money in collegiate sports has distracted everyone from the primary purpose of our colleges. With billions of dollars in television revenue gained on the backs of student-athletes, it is shameful that so few student-athletes actually graduate and that many are further burdened with medical bills due to injury. Neither personal injury nor poverty should dim the dreams of a student-athlete pursuing a degree, particularly when their performance has enriched their college,” said Senator Alex Padilla.

“Legislation that will be introduced in California and other states is necessary to protect student-athletes and increase graduation rates. Covering sports-related medical expenses, retaining a scholarship after a sports-related injury, and covering the full cost of attendance are protections that most people think are already a part of college athletics. The reality is that student-athletes do not have many basic protections, and many lack the support to finish their degree. Some of these student-athletes generate millions of dollars for their athletic departments yet do not receive enough support to consistently pay for food,” said Ramogi Huma, President of National College Players Association. “Student-athletes in California and other states should let their support for this bill be heard. I’m grateful that Senator Alex Padilla has chosen to help protect the biggest underdog in college sports – the student-athlete,” Huma added.

Padilla’s legislation would require that California’s public system of higher education set aside a portion of broadcast revenues to cover medical expenses of student-athletes injured while either competing or training for an intercollegiate athletic event. It would also require that a portion of broadcast revenues be set aside to ensure that student-athletes who are injured have the resources and support necessary to finish their education.

Padilla said his legislation will seek to have the NCAA fulfill its stated mission of integrating intercollegiate athletics into higher education so that the educational experience of the student-athlete is paramount. “Despite the NCAA’s stated mission it does not require that schools pay for medical coverage or provide continued academic support for injured student-athletes. As a result, when injured, many student-athletes not only lose their scholarships but are also saddled with medical bills they cannot afford,” said Senator Padilla.

Recently, the National College Players Association (NCPA) sent a petition to NCAA President Mark Emmert. The petition, signed by hundreds of football and basketball student-athletes from five top revenue-generating schools including the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), requested that the NCAA and college presidents use a portion of more than $775 million in new television revenues to increase student-athlete graduation rates, prevent permanently injured players from losing scholarships, pay for all sports-related medical expenses and increase scholarships to cover the actual cost of attendance.

Senator Alex Padilla represents more than 900,000 residents of the 20th State Senate District which includes most of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles.