March 1, 2021
Assemblymember Kamlager Announces Historic Bill to ensure Racial and Gender Equity for College Athletes
Assembly Bill 609 will secure equitable opportunity, treatment, and compensation for college athletes whose skills have been financially exploited for years by the NCAA’s college industrial sports complex
(SACRAMENTO) — Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager (D-Los Angeles) today announced Assembly Bill 609 to help ensure racial and gender equity for college athletes in California. Known as The College Athlete Race and Gender Equity Act, the bill will secure equitable opportunity, treatment, and compensation for college athletes whose skills have so far been exploited for financial gain by the NCAA’s college industrial sports complex.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, college sports generated over $14 billion dollars in revenue in 2018. While profits, coaching positions and salaries have risen with this revenue, the number of college athletes in California continues to fall, the gap between the number of male and female sports positions grows, and college athletes, many of whom play in predominantly Black college sports, continue to be precluded from profiting from their own labor.
“AB 609 is about fairness and justice for our college athletes. While the NCCA, advertisers, and athletic programs rake in money, many college athletes are forced to take on additional jobs to support themselves and college athlete rosters are shrinking, taking important opportunities for our athletes with them,” said Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager. “We’re not only fighting for the fair and equitable distribution of revenue for labor, but the preservation of sports in our colleges and the prioritization of additional opportunities for student athletes over unnecessary salary increases.”
AB 609 will ensure racial and gender equity in college sports, without eliminating non-revenue sports, by targeting rampant excess expenditures, including coach’s salaries, new coaching positions, and unnecessary facility upgrades that do not benefit the health and wellbeing of athletes.
“Currently, the only athletes that don’t receive their fair market value are in the three predominantly Black sports – football, men’s basketball, and women’s basketball,” said Ramogi Huma, Executive Director of the National College Players Association. “In California, there are 8000 fewer female college athletes than there are male college athletes, and, despite the explosion in revenue, athlete participation decreased by approximately 800 athletes between 2008-2018. The College Athlete Race and Gender Equity Act is desperately needed to address these serious injustices.”
Among its elements, AB 609 would provide Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) revenue royalty distribution to ensure athletes in predominantly Black college sports receive their fair market value, establish state enforcement of Title IX, and preserve the athletic and educational opportunities afforded to athletes in an increasingly shrinking college sports field.
A first for state legislation, AB 609 follows recent federal legislation to ensure equitable treatment and compensation for college athletes that was put forward in December of last year by U.S. Senators Cory Booker and Richard Blumenthal. This legislation, “The College Athletes Bill of Rights,” includes similar provisions to those in AB 609 for NIL revenue royalty fees, improvements to Title IX transparency, and prioritization of the preservation of all sports.
Assembly District 54 consists of Baldwin Hills, Cheviot Hills, the Crenshaw District, Century City, Culver City, Ladera Heights, Mar Vista, Palms, Rancho Park, Westwood and parts of South Los Angeles and Inglewood.