College Basketball Players Headline Sports Agents

The NCAA’s Big Changes To How Basketball Agents Will Be Able To Work With High School And College Players

Earlier today, the NCAA released a statement on college basketball reforms. Here are the bullet points that will most interest the sports agent community:

  • Elite high school basketball recruits and college players can be represented by an agent who can help them make informed decisions about going pro. They can be represented by an agent beginning July 1 before their senior year in high school, provided they have been identified as an elite senior prospect by USA Basketball.
  • College basketball players can be represented by an agent beginning after any basketball season if they request an evaluation from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee.
  • Agents can pay for meals and transportation for players and their families if the expenses are related to the agent selection process, and high school and college student-athletes and their families can have meals, transportation and lodging paid for by an agent if those expenses are associated with meetings with the agent or a pro team (this is a mere possibility and subject to revisions to the Uniform Athlete Agents Act, Revised Uniform Athlete Agents Act and relevant state laws).
  • Agents must be certified by an NCAA program with standards for behavior and consequences for violations. Family members of the high school recruit or college athlete or those who act solely on behalf of a professional sports team aren’t required to be certified.
  • All agreements between agents and high school or college student-athletes must be in writing, terminated when the student enrolls in or returns to college and disclosed to the NCAA (for high school students) or the school (for students already in college).
  • Student-athletes will be able to participate in the NBA Draft and return to school if undrafted, pending future action from the NBA and the NBPA.

As my colleague Jason Belzer tweeted, now would be an excellent time for the NCAA to read our law review article from 2012 that discusses conflicts of interest surrounding agents representing both players and coaches. It does not appear that the NCAA will attempt to restrict agents from representing both coaches and players, and the NBPA only prohibits an individual agent’s representation of players and professional coaches/executives (making no reference to college coaches). The NCAA’s new rules may empower those agents that are at least potentially conflicted based on representing players and the coaches they play for/look up to.

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.