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Analysis of “Maybe Jerry Maguire Should Have Stuck With Law School: How The Sports Agent Responsibility and Trust Act Implements Lawyer-Like Rules For Sports Agents”

Show me the Money!!!This post is officially crowned as having the longest title ever! Anyway, once again, hat tip to Sports Law Blog for contributing its Sports Law Scholarship program and finding a gem for this blog to post some analysis on.

The Law Review article under discussion is called: Maybe Jerry Maguire Should Have Stuck With Law School: How The Sports Agent Responsibility And Trust Act Implements Lawyer-Like Rules For Sports Agents by Melissa Steedle Bogad. It is featured in the April edition of the Cardozo Law Review.

Interesting points:

Possible advantages for attorney Sports Agents: competence, education, accountability, bar association-mandated and -regulated rules of ethics. Expertise in contract drafting & negotiation, familiarity with collective bargaining agreements, retention of professional malpractice insurance, and adhering to stringent ethical standards.

* What is italicized is what I feel is highly subjective. What is in bold seems to be pretty important points.

Ethical attorney agents have had a competitive disadvantage in signing clients because of their bar-mandated ethical obligations that they must adhere to (if they actually do). As I have stated in a post all the way back on February 15th, SPARTA (The Sports Agent Responsibility and Trust Act) has attempted to change that and treat all agents alike. SPARTA implements attorney-like regulations for all Sports Agents.

SPARTA only deals with recruiting and signing student-athletes, and says nothing about an agent’s conduct once a representation agreement is made between player and agent. In the future, this may be a good place for politicians to pick up where SPARTA left off.

SPARTA is backed by Scott Boras.

The article contends that the introduction and implementation of SPARTA will lead to the extreme rise of the attorney-agent in the world of sports representation. If you were to believe every detail in the review, it would give a clear cut answer to the most popular question in my inbox: “Should I go to law school if I want to be an agent?.” The answer would be a resounding yes, but you need to make up your own mind on whether the review has its merits.

The Model Rules, which is an ethical code produced by the American Bar Association, bind all lawyers who are acting as Sports Agents. The article believes that SPARTA is strikingly similar to many parts of the Model Rules.

Are unethical agents really without their arsenal of cash inducements, fancy cars, etc. now that SPARTA has been passed? Has the threat of prosecution changed these unethical practices? My personal opinion is that SPARTA looks great on paper, but that without proper enforcement, non-attorney agents will continue to have an upper-hand on attorney agents. Since SPARTA’s enactment, no state or educational institution has commenced litigation against an agent under the right of action conferred by SPARTA, and the FTC has not used SPARTA in any one case. SPARTA does not include a private right of action for the student athlete. This may be why there has not been much litigation. These facts will not deter me from obtaining my law degree, however. Hopefully it will inspire us future/current attorney-agents to continue the battle against certain unethical agents, and spur a change in the enforcement of penalties against those who wish to corrupt our business.

[tags]sports, law, sparta, uaa, sports law, sports agent, sport agent, lawyer, jerry maguire, scott boras[/tags]

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.

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