Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Outrage of the week! Schwarzenegger bars NCAA athletes from competition based on minor crimes.

Outrage of the week! Schwarzenegger bars NCAA athletes from competition based on minor crimes.

(September 4, 2006) Today, California Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law a statute forbidding NCAA student athletes in California Universities and community colleges from competing if they are convicted of certain crimes. These student athletes will presumably lose their scholarships for being convicted of some relatively minor offenses.

see: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/2006-04-27-california-bill-athletes_x.htm?POE=click-refer

New California Education Code, section (§) 67362, (AB 2165) prohibits and bars any student athlete from competing in any event in California, or for any collegiate team (except intramurals), if that student/athlete is convicted of certain crimes, including:

(a) breaking into a car or shop-lifting (California Penal Code § 459);
(b) getting into a fight at a bar or fraternity party (California Penal Code § 245); or
(c) “beer runs” or grabbing and taking some alcohol from a convenience store (California Penal Code § 211).

In addition, NCAA student/athletes can be barred for more serious offenses like murder, rape, and sexual assault. The law also imposes a new “reporting” requirement upon NCAA student athletes in California: from now on they will have to declare under penalty of perjury that they are essentially “crime-free.” If the student athlete does not report accurately, he or she risks further discipline including loss of scholarship.

This new law has tremendous implications for the more than 25,000 NCAA student athletes in California. To being with, to just take away the eligibility and scholarships of NCAA athletes upon conviction of seemingly small crimes may violate the due process clause under the federal and state constitutions. In addition, it may also violate the right an education under the California Constitution.

Chip Venie, Esq, and the Freedom Law Center are attorneys who concentrate a large portion of their practice on NCAA law and the criminal defense application of NCAA laws and policies. Mr. Venie is admitted to practice law in California, Washington D.C., and Michigan. Please call him at the San Diego office at (619) 235-8300, or email him at chipesq@hotmail.com if you have any questions, or are facing the impact of this new law AB 2165. See the website at blogspot.crimelaw.com