College Football Players Recruiting Sports Law

Alabama Looking To Make A Statement With Savage

A week ago, I reported on some bad news out of Newport News after Raymond Lee Savage Jr., CEO and President of Savage Sports Management, was arrested and taken into custody for allegedly having a part in the illegal contact of former University of Alabama wide-receiver, Tyrone Prothro, while he was in college and the lack of adhering to state registration requirements by one of Savage’s employees.  Savage plans to plead not guilty to both charges, but will turn himself in to authorities on October 27th.

From today’s Daily Press:

The attorney general’s office says Savage told Goggins to visit Prothro, and that Savage paid for Goggins’ plane fare.

But Green [Savage’s attorney] contends Goggins was not an agent for Savage but worked as a marketing staffer. Green said Goggins went to Alabama to visit relatives in the area. Goggins’ brother once played college football at a nearby school, and Goggins went by Prothro’s hospital room simply to “offer some words of encouragement.”

That Savage paid for Goggins’ plane fare was not out the ordinary, Green said. It was “customary” for Savage to pay airfare for Goggins, even for personal trips, with the money being taken out of his paycheck in the following pay period.

Green said he didn’t know why Goggins would drop off a marketing brochure to Prothro if it was only a personal visit. “Only Jason (Goggins) knows the answer to that. I can only surmise that Mr. Goggins did so to show he was not some crazy off the street.”

Donald G. Valeska II, the chief of the criminal trials division of the Alabama attorney general’s office, said: “That’s what they always say when they get caught. They don’t say, ‘Oh yeah, we were there trying to sign him up’ … This is a very easy case to prove and I don’t anticipate any problems.”

“People down here just use their common sense,” Valeska said. “You don’t come down here from Virginia and think you can call a duck an elephant to 12 people (jury members) and think you can get away with it.”

A few of my own notes:

  • It really is not all that unusual for a business to pay for its employees trips and take that money out of their paycheck.  However, most of those trips need to be legitimized as a business expense…normally recruiting visits.  If Savage can show that he has paid for employees’ personal trips in the past, though, then the claim may be proved valid.
  • It will be very important to analyze the business relationship between Savage and Goggins.  If Goggins was not employed as an agent, and maybe instead was classified as an independent contractor with indemnity towards the business for any of Goggins’ actions, then Savage may find some safety.  Language in the employment agreement will be vital.
  • Showing a marketing brochure = validation that you are not some crazy off the street?  Ehhhh…not convinced.  There are plenty of other ways to prove your sanity.
  • Valeska’s statements should further prove my past claims that Southeastern states take this stuff seriously.  Don’t mess around with Alabama and Arkansas.

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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