Mo. bill would revoke scholarships to striking college athletes

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A bill filed in the Missouri House of Representatives aims to penalize college athletes in the state of Missouri who refuse to play their respective sports by revoking their scholarships.

Republican state representative Rick Brattin on Monday pre-filed the bill, which “provides that any college athlete on scholarship who refuses to play for a reason unrelated to health shall have his or her scholarship revoked.”

The bill also includes a regulation that “any member of a coaching staff who encourages or enables a college athlete to engage in behavior prohibited under (the bill) shall be fined by his or her institution of employment.”

The bill has an effective starting date of Aug. 28, 2016, just before the next college football season kicks off.

The bill comes in the wake of the University of Missouri football strike that garnered national attention and ultimately led to the resignation of then-president of the University of Missouri System Tim Wolfe.

Former Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel took a bold stand with the striking players, sharing a photo of the team with the caption “We are united. We are behind our players.”

Brattin represents Missouri’s 55th District, encompassing several Kansas City suburbs in Cass County.

Rep. Kurt Bahr (R-O’Fallon) signed on as a co-sponsor of the bill, saying he wants to send the university a message about the use of scholarship money.

“That is state money. We can, as a Legislature, make sure the money is being used wisely,” Bahr said.