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Calif senator floats bill to extend athletic scholarships

California Sen. Alex Padilla proposed a bill this week that would require NCAA universities to guarantee that student-athletes currently on scholarship retain their financial aid through graduation, regardless of injury and time needed to complete degree requirements. USC currently guarantees the provisions of the bill to athletes on scholarship.“Academics are paramount and the vast majority of athletes here understand that they will need that college degree,” USC men’s basketball coach Kevin O’Neill said. “USC is ahead of the curve.”The bill mandates all colleges earning $10 million or more in broadcast revenues to continue supporting athletes on scholarship who have exhausted their athletic eligibility but still need time to graduate. Athletes on full scholarships would keep those scholarships until they earn a college degree, even if their athletic eligibility expires.“USC takes care of its athletes,” said Abe Markowitz, a senior majoring in urban planning and development and an offensive lineman on scholarship for the USC football team. “Coaches work around your academic schedule so athletes can be as successful off the field as they are on the field.”Markowitz sat out the 2010 season because of a foot injury while receiving a full scholarship.