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Will There Be A Shift Of Focus To Agents Giving Benefits To Basketball Players?

As Marc Isenberg correctly pointed out on this website not too long ago, Sports Agents = The Issue de Jour.  But for much of the past few months, the focus of the media and the NCAA Agent, Gambling and Amateurism division has been on sports agents’ relationships with football student-athletes.  The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, University of South Carolina, University of Alabama, and University of Georgia have all been negatively affected by sports agents who have ignored NCAA regulations, and state and federal athlete agent laws.  But the issue of athletes receiving benefits from agents does not only exist on those four campuses.  It is a problem at many other schools and is also not restricted to the sport of football.

Many agents actually believe that when it comes to the highest rated players in each sport, agents are offering and giving more benefits for free to student-athletes in basketball than in football.  Basketball AgentGate may have begun with the recent investigation of the University of Oregon basketball program, where an agent supposedly promised money to a student-athlete (Michael Dunigan) while he still had NCAA eligibility remaining.

Without a doubt, Oregon has a big athletic program, but its basketball focus is nowhere near the size of a Kentucky or UConn.  Then again, UConn has already had its own NCAA compliance issues to worry about in this respect, when it was discovered that an agent named Josh Nochimson provided benefits to Nate Miles for free.  My guess is that if the same thing was discovered today, it would be sensationalized and covered much more extensively by the media.  And in turn, it would probably make Connecticut’s Commissioner of Consumer Protection take some sort of action.

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.

One reply on “Will There Be A Shift Of Focus To Agents Giving Benefits To Basketball Players?”

I don’t see why agents continue to go after players that they’re still not allowed to touch. We need to start penalizing agents for this kind of behavior, not just athletes and schools.

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