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UC Davis Students Agree With New Athlete Protection Policy

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DAVIS -- The University of California Board of Regents move to pay more attention to the plight of student athletes generally resonated with students on the UC Davis Campus.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom spearheaded a UC initiative to make sure student athletes get academic counseling and help to get their degree. The policy also ensures that athletes don't lose athletic scholarships due to injury and that more attention is paid to how many hours they train and practice.

Student Nikki Zanchetta says sports are important for the school and students, but that the emphasis on athletics can be skewed.

"The primary purpose is academics, I mean, we're here to get a higher education," said Zanchetta.

Knight Queirolo sympathizes with the student athletes he knows because they don't have the several hours per unit required for study.

"If you're already working a 40 hour job, which is a sport, it's hard to make up that extra time," said Queirolo.

Recent student-athlete graduate Marcus Johnson agrees with the new policy.

"We have the opportunity to represent the universities and they invest in us, and we would like to fulfill that investment and have that protection on top of that," said Johnson.

Johnson was kicked out of school for poor grades when he arrived on campus. After several years in a junior college, he was readmitted and with the help of UC Davis counselors was able to graduate while participating on the track team. He now counsels first-year football players and runs an athlete tutoring program.

He says the new policy will force other UC campuses to provide the same support that he got.

"It's not enough that one school is doing it, it's a universal thing, it should be across all the universities," said Johnson.