And when I say National Regulation, I mean NATIONAL REGULATION only. While it may not go over well, the reality is that the sports business is a national business and having all fo these varying laws and regulations does nothing to help the process.
The current system allows agents to be regulated by any and all of the following:
- Players Association for each league
- Every state
- Every college or university
There is not any single place to register or any centralized mechanism for supervising or regulating agents. For purposes of this discussion, all forms of “agents” should be covered under this regulation. That includes people acting (or pretending to act) as the following:
- Contract Advisors
- Financial Advisors
- Marketing agents
- Any other connected group you can think of.
The definition of “agent” needs to be broad to ensure that “everyone” who is part of the process, problem and solution are all governed under one single set of regulations.
It creates problems when so many overlapping groups have partial jurisdiction over the agent communities.
Currently 40 states have passed the Uniform Athlete Agent Act (UAAA). The problem with that act is that many states have slight variations in the Act that they ultimately adopted. In addition, virtually every state requires a separate registration process.
So agents are potentially regulated by each of the following, just for the ability to represent one athlete:
- The state in which the agent is located
- The state in which the athlete goes to college
- The athlete’s home state
- Potentially (depending on state acts) the state in which the athlete is playing professionally.
So you can see that the compliance burden for agents is significant. If you want to work and recruit, many states require you to register even before you speak to the athlete (or his/her family). So just to do an introductory mailing of a brochure, many state statutes technically require you to register.
At the SLA Conference the discussion also addressed the issue of how the definition of agent is different for the state, the university and the players association.
The other issue is the practical (or actually the HIGHLY impractical) manner in which there is a time limitation on student-athletes recruitment. Student athletes NEED to get information about agents and need to understand the process. Preventing agents from speaking to athletes is akin to parents who don’t think that they need to talk to their children about sex and/or drugs until they are in college.
The whole system needs to be woken up. We need A SINGLE national regulation or national registration database that could be accessed by each league, team, university or other group to check on the status of an agent. This system needs to replace ALL players associations, university regulations and state regulations. It would simplify the process for the agents and it would be much easier to monitor the compliance.
States are not enforcing existing laws and the recent studies have shown that virtually no states have suspended or revoked licenses. Almost none have fined agents and those that have only implemented nominal fines.
FROM THE BENCH is opening up a Agent Regulation Symposium. We invite you to submit your recommendations or your entry for consideration and posting relating to this topic.
We will be accepting entries for this symposium thru June 1, 2011 and then we will publish the submit entries.
The reality is that the system is broken. There are many great minds who are able to provide meaningful input and guidance and recommendations.
Let’s get it going and see what changes we can make.