My home state of Florida is one of the most stringent, if not the most active state, to regulate the sports agent profession. I applied for my Florida license shortly after forming Dynasty Athlete Representation as an LLC on April 7, 2007. It took until December 31, 2007 before I was formally licensed by the state. Before I was mailed by license, I had to pay a nonrefundable fee of roughly $1,300. When trying to start up a business (especially a sports agency) from scratch, the last thing you want to do is hand away $1,300 that could definitely help in another area. But also, the last thing you want to do as a new entrant into an industry is make a bad name for yourself and break any rule or regulation. Thus, I jumped through the hoops and came away with my Florida license (#721…hence the title of this post). Click here if you want to see my official documentation.
An important note about registering as an athlete agent in a state: you must only do so if you wish to recruit a Student athlete. Thus, if you are aiming to sign a player who is already a professional (example: he is already in an MLB Minor League system), then you are not required to register in that player’s state. However, if you are going to sign a player that will be entering a professional draft and he just finished his final season as an NCAA athlete, you should go ahead and get registered in his state as soon as you begin discussing the potential of representing him at the next level. Most states offer a temporary license to athlete agents while their applications are pending, which makes sense, because many agents do not apply to become registered in a particular state until they believe they have a solid shot at landing a player there. Such a plan makes sense when states are charging as much as $1,300 for registration (it adds up!). We have not even discussed renewal fees, which most states require (often times every two years).
Since many states require sports agents to become registered as athlete agents, athletes might as well use such rules to their advantage. As Jenn Meale, communications director at the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation of Florida points out,
The advantage of working with a state-licensed athlete agent is that licensure requirements must be met and include a criminal background check. (The regulations also) require that within the preceding five years, the applicant has not had a conviction or entered a plea of no contest . . . for any crime that relates to the practice of an athlete agent.
So athletes have a responsibility as well. Do your background checks. If I were not registered in the state of Florida, then you should ask me why that is the case. Maybe I had some sort of criminal record, which may entice you to stay away from me since I am going to be having an instrumental role in helping you manage your life. Luckily, my record is clean, but hypotheticals are needed to explain the point.
The individual state applications are a pain, but there definitely is a solid reason behind all of the madness. Student athletes need to be protected as much as possible before they make the huge decision in selecting an agent. Many states have made the athlete agent registration process easier by becoming a UAAA state. All this means is that they have adopted the Uniform Athlete Agent Act of 2000, which attempts to standardize the requirements and process for becoming a licensed agent.