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A Democratic state senator has watered down his legislation aimed at improving the treatment of student athletes at four California universities.

Sen. Alex Padilla, of Los Angeles, agreed to amend Senate Bill 1525 amid opposition from Stanford, UC-Berkeley, UCLA and the University of Southern California.

This bill now requires the four schools to continue scholarships for injured athletes and athletes who have exhausted their athletic eligibility, but have not finished their degree. The schools would also have to pay for health insurance for low-income individuals and tell a student athlete within seven days whether it will grant the athlete's request to speak to another school about transferring.

Previous versions of the measure required the four schools to give equivalent scholarships to all athletes whose scholarships weren't renewed for non-disciplinary reasons, including those dropped for athletic performance reasons.

The earlier version of Padilla's bill also required the schools to allow athletes to transfer to other schools without restrictions, including the rule that they sit out a year before competing.

Padilla said his bill, despite the changes, would have a positive affect.

"At the end of the day, if it's part of what helps a bill to advance through the Legislature and get signed by the governor, it's still, the bill as a whole, is tremendous progress for student athletes in the state," Padilla said.

All the schools but Stanford removed their opposition after Padilla made the changes, and the bill cleared the Assembly Higher Education Committee this week.

Stanford lobbyist Robert Naylor said the bill does not cover enough student athletes and should apply to more schools.

"Stanford takes pride in the way it treats its student athletes, but we object to this bill in principle because it is labeled as a student athlete's bill of rights, (but) applies only to schools that don't have a problem," Naylor said.


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