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Proposal To Revise Arkansas’ Athlete Agent Law

Arkansas is one of the forty states that has passed the Uniform Athlete Agents Act (UAAA), which requires sports agents to become licensed in the state in order to act as an athlete agent and recruit student-athletes with aspirations of going pro.  One of the main goals of the UAAA is to prevent agents from providing any type of benefits to athletes while the athletes retain eligibility to perform in intercollegiate athletics.  States have been attacked for not enforcing their athlete agent laws, and many people are currently focused on what kind of punishment, if any, North Carolina’s Secretary of State, Elaine Marshall, will hand down on NFLPA Contract Advisor Gary Wichard.

Certain states are known for their veracity in hunting down agents who violate their athlete agent laws.  Florida has a history of enforcing its regulations, and Alabama is certainly not a state to mess around with.  Arkansas may also soon put all sports agents on warning.

Representative David Sanders (R-Little Rock) has proposed The Arkansas Player and Fan Protection Act.

The bill would make it a felony in Arkansas for an agent to provide or arrange for anything of value to be provided to a college athlete (it’s currently a never-prosecuted misdemeanor), fine the agent at least $250,000 (it’s now $50,000 in pocket change), and revoke his or her license to practice their craft in Arkansas for up to five years (they currently face no revocation at all). The bill also would penalize anyone acting on behalf of an agent.

The penalties may scare off some unscrupulous agents from recruiting in Arkansas, but until the new law, if passed, is enforced, it will not be completely effective.  Passing the laws with teeth is only half the battle.

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.

2 replies on “Proposal To Revise Arkansas’ Athlete Agent Law”

Darren – Good points on this. I mentioned this proposed piece of legislation on my blog last week, though in a much more sarcastic tone.

Another important point is that Sanders is not yet a member of the House. He was elected this year, but has not yet been sworn in, so I imagine it will be some time before it is law, if gets to that point.

Steve Dittmore, PhD
University of Arkansas

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