One of the people that I met at the 2011 Sports Lawyers Association (SLA) Annual Conference in Washington D.C. is Roy Kessel, founder of sports law blog, From the Bench. Roy is also founder of the Sports Philanthropy Foundation (SPF), instructor in Northwestern University’s Masters in Sports Administration Program, and served for many years as the Co-Chair of the Chicago Bar Association’s Sports Law Committee. During the SLA Conference, Kessel came up with an idea to host an Agent Regulation Symposium through his website.
Kessel is accepting entries for the Agent Regulation Symposium through June 1, 2011, which means you do not have much time to put something together and send it over his way. He will publish submissions, which should focus on ways to fix the current “broken system” of agent regulation. Please send all submissions to rkessel@SportsLoop.com.
Kessel’s fix is to change agent regulation to be strictly done on a national level, cutting states out of the equation. This is something that I have backed for quite some time, and wrote about in my Dartmouth Law Journal article titled, Duties of Sports Agents to Athletes and Statutory Regulation Thereof. I wrote,
There are also problems with registration. All states that have adopted the UAAA [Uniform Athlete Agent Act] have registration requirements for sports agents who wish to recruit student-athletes within their states. However, many sports agents fail to register in states in which they recruit, and there has been little enforcement of registration requirements by Secretaries of State. Additionally, in the majority of states, there is no requirement that sports agents register if they plan on contacting or representing a non-student athlete (a professional). In other professions, one must be qualified and certified before he is able to practice in those professions. Thus, some have called for a federal registration system required for all sports agents in all states. This registration system would be mandatory for sports agents recruiting student-athletes and/or representing professional athletes. A prerequisite to a sports agent signing an agency contract with an athlete, student or professional, would be listing on the national registry. If unregistered, a sports agent would forfeit all commissions earned from the representation of any athletes. This system would be practical and effective since it truly brings national uniformity to the registration process. It holds all agents accountable no matter the state in which they reside or recruit, making it affordable for smaller agents to register and helping protect all athletes.
I look forward to seeing what Kessel is able to put together with his Symposium.