SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A proposal that would require California universities to pay their athletes through a “degree completion fund” has been withdrawn from consideration at the state legislature.

Assemblyman Chris Holden pulled his proposed bill, the College Athlete Protection Act, from a hearing before the state’s Senate Education Committee on Wednesday. His office confirmed the move Thursday, which effectively ends the bid.

Under his plan, schools earning at least $10 million in athletics media rights revenue each year would have been required to pay $25,000 to certain athletes through the degree funds. Each athlete could access up to $25,000 but the rest would be available only after graduation.

Holden removed the revenue-sharing language from the bill after the NCAA and the nation’s five biggest conferences last month announced a $2.8 billion settlement plan to address antitrust claims. Among other things, that plan allows each school to spend up to some $22 million each year in direct payments to their athletes.

Holden has pushed ahead with other provisions in the bill, which sought better health and safety standards for athletes and prevented schools from eliminating sports and cutting scholarships.

Holden said Thursday the bill did not have the support of the committee chairman, state Sen. Josh Newman.

“Still, this is not a fail,” Holden said. “Our original bill language, in large part, focused on creating opportunities for college athletes to be paid and was critical to the NCAA revenue sharing settlement.”

NCAA vice president for external affairs Tim Buckley said in a statement the organization is talking with state lawmakers around the country about the changes ahead for college sports. It is still seeking help from Congress in establishing a limited antitrust exemption to preserve some form of its longtime amateurism model.

“Those changes combined with the landmark settlement proposal is making clear that state-by-state legislation would be detrimental to college sports, and that many past legislative proposals will create more challenges than they solve,” Buckley said.

It was a California state law that forced massive change across college athletics in 2021 by barring the NCAA from interfering in athletes earning name, image and likeness compensation. Other states quickly followed and the NCAA cleared the way for the so-called NIL earnings era in July 2021.


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