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CSU Board of Trustees pushes for approval of senate bill allowing student athletes to receive compensation for their image

The California State University Board of Trustees’ Committee on Governmental Relations showed support of moving forward with Senate Bill 26, which would allow student athletes to receive compensation for their name, image or likeness, during a virtual livestream meeting Tuesday.

Deemed the “Fair Pay to Play Act,” Senate Bill 26 comes as an acceleration to Senate Bill 206 signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2019 that looks to prevent a student athlete’s collegiate contract from interfering with their ability to receive compensation. SB26 would prevent their scholarships or spot on their team from being revoked for receiving any compensation in relation to their athletic reputation.

SB26 looks to move the start date of SB206 from Jan. 1, 2023 to a year earlier on Jan. 1, 2022. Recently passed by the Committee on Educational Policy, SB26 is awaiting official approval from state leaders.

Long Beach State athletic director Andy Fee has expressed support of student athletes benefitting from their name, image and likeness and told the Daily Forty-Niner in 2019 that he hopes to ensure those part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association understand the complexity of this issue.

According to the NCAA, the collegiate athletic model should be regulated at a “national level,” so issues could arise surrounding the fact that California institutions would no longer be able to compete against states that don’t pay their student athletes, as some players would be considered paid professionals while others would be categorized as amateurs. This could take championship opportunities away from students who rely on them for recruitment.

“We’re here to support our student athletes,” Fee said at the time. “We really want them to have the best possible experience here in the classroom and on the field of competition. I don’t want someone to do something not knowing the consequences.”

Also discussed during the meeting was Senate Bill 367, which would require opioid overdose medication in CSU first aid kits. Additionally, campuses must provide educational and preventative information about opioids during new student orientations as well as instruct students on the use of the location of opioid overdose reversal medications on campus.

SB367 is on its way to being voted on by the CSU’s Committee of Educational Policy.

The Committee on Governmental Relations also showed support of Assembly Bill 940, which looks to use funds from the state’s Mental Health Service Fund to expand student mental health services at the community college, CSU and University of California levels. The bill is currently awaiting a hearing from the Committee on Health.

Nichole Muñoz-Murillo, assistant vice chancellor of the CSU’s University Relations and Advancement division, said the bill has garnered support from the CSU and will later be heard by the health committee, where it will then be passed along for consideration by the Committee on Higher Education.

Muñoz-Murillo said that while the goal of the bill is to hire more counselors, she understands there are many moving parts to get this accomplished.

“We want to make sure we have some flexibility for our campuses,” she said. “Some definitely will want to hire more counselors, others might need to work in other areas. We really want to make sure that they have the best working mental health services for their students, but the main focus is the counselors.”

Student Trustee Krystal Raynes voiced her support for AB940, highlighting the work done by the CSU to focus on mental health for students. Raynes also stressed the importance of hiring more diverse counselors to reflect the diversity of CSU campuses’ student bodies.

“As a student that has used mental services on campus and in Kern County, I can say this: we definitely need more counselors and more funding,” Raynes said.

The next Board of Trustees meeting will be held virtually May 17 to 19.

Julia Terbeche, news editor, contributed to this story.

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