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Looking Into Potential Improper Inducements By Boras Corp.

Scott Boras‘ company might have exploited Dominican Republic talented baseball players by giving them and their families loans and other payments in return for a better chance to represent the players and earn back the money paid out, and more, through the commissions received on their signing bonuses.  Scott Boras and his company would stand to make much more money off of the players if they made it to the Majors, earned more than minimum salary, and kept Boras Corp. as their agency for representation.

But what we really care about here is that these disbursements might contravene MLB Players Association Rules and Regulations.  If the loans were registered with the union, then the MLBPA would move on.  But if Boras Corp. did not first consult with the union regarding these loans, there could be consequences for the company’s prior actions.

As always, my colleague Gabe Feldman, head of the sports law department at Tulane Law School, has some insightful comments on the matter.

“You worry that these agents are gaining ownership over these prospects.  And the prospects then feel so indebted to the agents that the prospects feel that they cannot leave the agent for another.”

And I agree.  But instead of talking too much about the exploitation of innocent Dominican players, let’s stay focused on the MLBPA Rules and Regulations, which Boras and his team of lawyers should be combing over a few times this holiday weekend.

The MLBPA Regulations Governing Player Agents were amended as of October 1, 2010.  Unfortunately, I do not have a good uploaded copy of the old Regulations, which would have been the regulations that Boras Corp. was operating under when it provided any money to Dominican prospects.  The new Regs may be found at the end of this post.  Pay specific attention to Pages 20 and 21.

These rules state that no money or other thing of value may be provided to a player, or any person related to the player, for the purpose of inducing or encouraging the player to use or continue to use any person’s or firm’s services as a Player Agent, Representative, or Draft Advisor.  Read everything that follows that statement and quickly see that this issue could become one of interpretation.  My money is on Boras coming out of this unscathed.

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.