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Arkansas Attorney General Wants To Clamp Down On Agents And Intermediaries

It has recently become a trend for state attorneys general to claim that sports agents will be prosecuted for violating their respective state athlete agent laws.  Whether there is anything behind their words remains to be seen.  The most recent attorney general to put sports agents on notice is Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel.

McDaniel said his legislative package for the upcoming legislative session would include a bill with stricter punishment for a sports agent, an athlete’s relative or another third party who negotiates benefits in exchange for an athlete attending a university. The attorney general cited the activities of Auburn quarterback Cam Newton’s father in seeking $180,000 from Mississippi State if he could steer his son to sign with that school.

“The student athlete’s career can be severely damaged if not destroyed when it comes to light, if the incident is severe enough the school can suffer … but the agent bears little real risk,” McDaniel said.

McDaniel wants to punish anyone acting as an intermediary in such cases by making it a felony punishable by a fine up to $10,000 and as much as six years in prison.

McDaniel said he hopes University of Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long will help present the bill.

The NCAA has absolutely no power over a third party who negotiates benefits in exchange for a student-athlete’s commitment to attend a university.  The NCAA may penalize the student-athlete by limiting his participation in athletic events and the athlete’s school could suffer great ramifications, but the third party gets off unscathed.  That is, unless a state like Arkansas has a law on the books that could send the third party to jail for 6-years.  The $10,000 fine pales in comparison to the $180,000 figure that Cam Newton’s father was seeking, and might not be enough of a deterrent.  6-years in behind bars – that’s a scary thought.

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

One reply on “Arkansas Attorney General Wants To Clamp Down On Agents And Intermediaries”

Amazing that the NCAA could manage to convince State Governments to make it a crime, punishable by jail time, to seek to serve as an agent for a stellar athlete. It’s incredible how the NCAA has succeeded in conflating its rules with the law, and when that didn’t suffice, to pass real laws to perpetuate its collusive agreements not to pay the talent (or even let them get representation)

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