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12/15/2015 12:29 am ET

Missouri Lawmaker Wants To Revoke Scholarships If Athletes Protest

The plan comes after University of Missouri football players protested racism at the school.
A new bill would strip athletic scholarships from any student who refused to play for reasons other than those related to hea
Credit: Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images
A new bill would strip athletic scholarships from any student who refused to play for reasons other than those related to health.

Legislation introduced in Missouri would strip college athletes of their scholarships if they refuse to play for any reason "unrelated to health."

The proposal, filed Friday by state Rep. Rick Brattin, comes a month after the University of Missouri was roiled by protests in which 30 black football players refused to show up unless President Tim Wolfe resigned. Days later, Wolfe announced he would step down.

Brattin's plan would revoke scholarships for any protesting college athlete and fine coaching staff members who encourage it. Brattin's office didn't immediately answer a request for comment.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch notes that Mizzou's athletic scholarships are raised through private resources and aren't linked to any state funds. It's unclear how the bill would affect money the state doesn't supply.

November's protests came after months of tension surrounding school administrators' lack of action addressing racially-motivated incidents on campus. The protests escalated when football players said they wouldn't play in their next game unless Wolfe resigned, which would've cost the school more than $1 million.

The team's coach, Gary Pinkel, said he supported the players' decision.

"They had tears in their eyes and asked if I would support them and I said I would -- it's about supporting my players when they needed me," Pinkel said at a news conference last month.

As protests intensified, threats were called into the campus and students began asking reporters to leave, claiming intense news coverage was detracting from the issue.

Mizzou later appointed Mike Middleton as interim president in a decision praised by student activists.

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