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Amendments To The MLBPA Regulations Governing Player Agents

On September 2, all certified Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) agents received an email concerning amended agent regulations.  It was a notice that the MLBPA’s Executive Board has unanimously adopted amendments to the MLBPA’s Regulations Governing Player Agents.  While I am not yet MLBPA certified (although I am happy to announce that is changing soon), I received a copy of the email as well.

Please find a copy of the amendment summary that was approved by the Board, below.  The Regulations still must be approved by the MLBPA’s legal staff before they become effective on the proposed date of October 1, 2010.  A complete copy will be distributed shortly, but for now, the summary sufficiently describes some of the interesting changes to the rules.

Player Agents who were certified under the pre-amendment Regulations, will have 90 days after the effective date (that is, until December 30, 2010) to file new Applications for Certification in accordance with the amended Regulations.

Here are some of the highlights of the summary:

  • In addition to people who negotiate MLB contract terms on behalf of their clients, recruiters and people who provide “Client Maintenance Services” must apply for limited MLBPA certification.
  • Agents who communicate with players that they do not represent must disclose those communications to the MLBPA.  If the communication is planned ahead of time, the agent must give the MLBPA 48 hours advance notice.  If the player initiates the communication or it occurs spontaneously, the agent must disclose the communication to the MLBPA 24 hours after it occurs.
  • Agents cannot provide or promise anything of value to players not already represented by them and agents may not provide over $1,500 of free baseball equipment per year to a client.
  • Upcoming off-season free agency and arbitration eligible players must consult with the MLBPA before making a switch of representation in the off-season.
  • An agency may attempt to restrict its employees from departing and immediately competing with the agency in signed employment contracts, however, such restrictive covenants must be deemed “reasonable.”
  • All disputes between agents about player representation are to be submitted to the MLBPA’s arbitration procedure.

MLBPA New Agent Regulations

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.

21 replies on “Amendments To The MLBPA Regulations Governing Player Agents”

” While I am not yet MLBPA certified (although I am happy to announce that is changing soon), I received a copy of the email as well.”

How is that changing soon? Is the Players Association also changing the rule about representting a player on the an MLB teams 40-man roster to be eligible for certification?

Why are you so sure Clint will be protected? Why would you broadcast the Royal’s plans before them?

He is a DH/1B and they have Hosmer right behind him. Stats do not get you protected. Look at all the 4A players who hit 20+ HR’s a year and have other tools. Its about projection and the current state of your system at that position. If you look at the Rule 5 draft you will see its very pitcher heavy, maybe 90%.

Because he is such an excellent hitter, Clint will find a spot on a team just so that the team can use his bat. There is no denying that the Royals are loaded at the 1B position. He is willing to transition to another position, if that is the direction the club is looking to go. Stats may not be the only thing that gets someone protected, but one thing that plays a big role is being Rule 5 eligible in that year. While I agree that the Rule 5 Draft has historically been pitcher heavy, I don’t think the Royals want to take that kind of risk.

It’s unfortunate the comments are focused on Darren’s certification status and Clint’s odds of being protected this winter, as these are really interesting (and aggressive) changes.

Why? He pointed it out in his article. I notice a lot that Darren puts himself first. Just stating facts…

Agree completely with Joe. The comments should focus on these changes being made, and if anything we should be congratulating Darren for being on the brink of certification by the MLBPA. I understand how some people may be jealous of this because Darren is close to where many of us want to be, but you shouldn’t let that jealousy cause you to write comments that only have the purpose to bring someone down. Besides, it is Darren’s website, so it is his prerogative to write about his success and his clients. You can go ahead and start your own website and write about how Clint Robinson won’t be named on the 40 man roster all you want.
Now back to the topic of the article, I feel like these changes are only the tip of the iceberg. I would not be surprised to see more regulations on agents/advisors during the collective bargaining year or the years after. We will have to keep an eye on this and see what the repercussions are.

Interesting set of changes. It seems like they are aggressively changing the landscape. I would be interested to know what action the MLBPA will take after being informed of a communication between an agent and a player he does not yet represent. Will the MLBPA inform the player’s current agent? Also the rule about limiting the gear provided seems as though it would level the playing field for upstart agents.

“Also the rule about limiting the gear provided seems as though it would level the playing field for upstart agents.” – I think that’s an unintended consequence, but a likely result, nonetheless. The concern seems to be that players are choosing agents for the wrong reasons – not for their services, but because they are offering some nice up-front incentives.

Darren – can you write a post about how you started your agency? I have the dream of one day having my own, and was curious as to your story and how your company came to fruition.


And on those same lines – how did your learn to recruit your clients? Or if you are comfortable, is there a method you have for your recruiting? You may not want to disclose that info, but was curious nonetheless. As a law student who wants to eventually be in the business (sooner than later), I’d love to hear how you go about your business.

Thanks again!

Nothing beats meeting a potential client in person, and if his family is involved in the decision making process, it is also normally very important to meet them as well. Our best recruitment strategy is to do strong work for our current clients. They are our ambassadors. Often times we will pick up new clients because of the great things they say about us to others.

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