Bill To Give Resident Classification For Team USA Athletes Training in CA Pass Assembly

A bill to give Olympic and Paralympic members of the U.S. team who train in California the option to pay tuition fees for state residents has passed the Assembly in a unanimous vote earlier this week, moving to the governor’s office to await his signature or veto.

Assembly Bill 2747, drafted by Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian (D-North Hollywood), would allow Team USA members to receive a resident classification if they choose to train in California. The bill would significantly expand the current law, which only allows Olympic athletes training at the Chula Vista Olympic Training Center to have a residency classification for University of California campuses only. AB 2747 would instead open it up to all of California, with all state universities and colleges valid. As a result, community colleges would be required to exempt more students from non-resident tuition.

Thanks to an amendment, the bill would then expire in July 2032, to help athletes transition into their careers after the 2028 Olympics.

The bill was drafted by Assemblyman Nazarian in large part because Los Angeles is hosting the Summer Olympics and Paralympics in 2028. By giving athletes a break from residency requirements, the reduced tuition fees for athletes would help encourage many people to live here during and after the Games. This would help consolidate training, allow athletes to adapt to the Southern California climate in preparation for the games, help athletes pursue different careers after the games, and allow for long-term health benefits for athletes who train and study in California.

“This legislation sends an important message to athletes,” LA28 Athlete Director and five-time Olympic medalist Janet Evans said in a statement Friday. “Olympians and Paralympians are some of our greatest ambassadors around the world and we need to support them on and off the field of play. By providing a pathway to affordable education, we recognize the important work athletes do to compete at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, while encouraging success outside the arena.

AB 2747 passes unanimously in the Assembly, in the Senate

Since the bill was introduced earlier this year, the bill has met with no opposition in either the Assembly or the Senate. A concern raised that the bill could be indefinite resulted in an end date of 2032 being put in place on AB 2747, with other issues related to the potential loss of tuition dollars being suppressed by the increased student spending by incoming athletes and other monetary and prestige benefits. On Tuesday, the bill passed the Senate 40-0, with the Assembly voting 76-0 in a vote later in the week.

“I am grateful to see AB 2747 move from Legislative Assembly to Governor with bipartisan and unanimous support,” Deputy Nazarian said Friday. “As Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games, I am proud to offer eligible Olympic and Paralympic athletes a classification of residents for tuition and fee purposes up to that the Athlete has resided in the State the minimum time necessary to become a resident. This will eventually bring some of our country’s most talented young people to California and make our great state the hub of both higher education and Olympic-level training.

Sports and education leaders have noted the importance of AB 2747 to both the build-up to and completion of the 2028 Olympics.

“The bill will help athletes get a good education while benefiting from their training in the same field they will be competing in 6 years from now,” coach Milos Stefanovic told The Globe on Friday. “Team USA will want to win big in Los Angeles the same way they did in 1984 or Atlanta in 1996. That will help them get there. California has always been one of the best states for athletes to come to train in, thanks to all the different climates and temperatures and the areas to work on for the Summer and Winter Olympics. This piece of legislation helps to continue that.

AB 2747 will then await a signature from Governor Gavin Newsom next week.

Naomi C. Amerson