Mar
28

Oklahoma and Georgia Notify Agents Of State Laws And University Policies

At the end of last week, the Executive Director of Compliance at the University of Oklahoma and the Assistant Athletic Director for Compliance at the University of Georgia sent out separate emails to formerly NFLPA Certified Contract Advisors, who are no longer certified for the sole reason that the NFLPA does not currently exist as a union for NFL players.

The following is the letter sent by Jason D. Leonard, Executive Director of Compliance for the University of Oklahoma:

Message for sports agents and those acting on their behalf – READ CAREFULLY:
As you are aware, the NFLPA is currently no longer unionized.  However, it is essential that you are aware that state law still restricts your contact with football “underclassmen”.

The State of Oklahoma Uniform Athlete Agent Act (“UAAA”) and the University of Oklahoma Athlete Agent Policy require agents (and individuals acting as agents) to register themselves with both the Secretary of State and University prior to contacting any student-athlete.  Contact is defined in broad based terms and includes Facebook friending.

Contact of any type with a student-athlete who is not eligible to enter into a professional sports contract is prohibited.  Therefore, any contact by agents (or their associates, runners, etc.) with any University of Oklahoma football student-athletes who are not at least three (3) NFL seasons removed from high school would be a violation of both the State of Oklahoma UAAA and University of Oklahoma policy.  Any conduct contrary to the parameters of state law and/or university policy may subject you to both criminal and civil penalty.

Additional information for agents, including registration forms, can be found on our website (http://www.soonersports.com/compliance/02_agents.html).  If you have any questions, please contact the Athletics Compliance Department at 405-325-7004.  Thank you for your cooperation with this process.

The only thing that really stands out to me is the sentence, “Contact is defined in broad based terms and includes Facebook friending.”  If Oklahoma really wanted to enforce that statement, it would wind up with a lot of agents to prosecute.  Next up, the email sent by Eric Baumgartner of the University of Georgia Athletic Association:

Good afternoon from Athens, Georgia.

With the recent developments between the NFL and its Player’s Association, the University of Georgia Athletics Department has amended its institutional policy regarding student-athlete interaction with agents, financial advisors, or anyone recruiting our student-athletes.

Effective immediately, sports agents, financial advisors, and anyone else recruiting our student-athletes for whatever reason, are prohibited from having any form of contact, either verbal or in-person, with any University of Georgia underclass football student-athlete, their family, or friends.

Below is the University of Georgia agent calendar with regard to its senior and red-shirt senior student-athletes only:

AGENTS CALENDAR

January-March: – NO CONTACT WHATSOEVER

April-June: – Physical contact at player’s home, with parent or guardian present, or at campus facility only

July: – Scheduled on campus agent interviews. By Player Invitation ONLY (Specific Dates to be Determined)

August-November: – NO physical contact with ANY student-athlete

September-December: – Phone Calls; once a week maximum.  Sundays-Mondays ONLY

NO text messages to student-athletes Tuesday through Saturday, during the season.

NOTE: Any agent who was suspended or de-certified at the time of the NFLPA union disbanding, is not permitted to contact our student-athletes, in any manner.

Financial advisors, and ANYONE else, other than sports agents, are prohibited from having any contact whatsoever with our student-athletes, until their eligibility has expired. You may send your information to:  Eric Baumgartner, Associate Athletic Director for Compliance, in the University of Georgia compliance office, to be forwarded to a student-athlete.

As a reminder, ANYONE contacting our student-athletes, must first notify our Compliance Department, as well as be registered with the University.  We encourage you to update your registration with the University of Georgia compliance office and the State of Georgia so as to expedite the registration process.  A notice will be sent to our conference office, the NCAA and the NFLPA, notifying them of such failure to comply with our university policy.

Thank you for your cooperation. If you have additional questions please don’t hesitate to contact Eric Baumgartner, Associate Athletic Director for Compliance, in the University of Georgia compliance office at (706) 542-9086 or email, EBaumgartner@Sports.UGA.edu.

Whereas Jason D. Leonard cites the State of Oklahoma’s athlete agent law, Eric Baumgartner discusses university policy.  What exactly happens if an agent violates a UGA rule that is not also embodied within the State of Georgia’s athlete agent law?  The NFLPA cannot discipline the agent.  What can the school do?  Furthermore, what is the definition of sports agent?  Baumgartner states that “Financial advisors, and ANYONE else, other than sports agents, are prohibited from having any contact whatsoever with our student-athletes, until their eligibility has expired.”  Is that entirely clear?  Last, why will UGA even bother sending a notice to the NFLPA if an “agent” fails to comply with university policy?  The NFLPA is no longer concerned with agent oversight.