Colleges Headline Sports Law

Oklahoma Creates Special Sports Agent Prosecution Team

The State of Oklahoma now has a special sports agent prosecution team, which was announced by Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt last Friday.  The prosecution team is led by an attorney within the Attorney General’s office, and will include investigators who will be hired to investigate situations as they become apparent.  On the surface, it is a step that distinguishes the State of Oklahoma from many other states that are merely making amendments to their existing Athlete Agent Acts.  However, Oklahoma also recently updated its sports agent regulations.

Highlights of the 2011 revamped Oklahoma Athlete Agent law:

  • Sports agent applicants have to post a $250,000 surety bond.
  • 1st infraction = misdemeanor with a fine up to $250,000.
  • 2nd infraction = felony with a fine up to $500,000 and 3 years in prison.
The Oklahoma universities support Pruitt with regards to the new law and the special sports agent prosecution team.  The University of Oklahoma (OU), in particular, has been vocal in the past when it comes to sports agent regulations.  When the NFL Players Association decertified earlier this year, OU sent a letter to all formerly NFLPA Certified Contract Advisors.  The following is part of the message sent by Jason D. Leonard, Executive Director of Compliance for the University of Oklahoma:

Message for sports agents and those acting on their behalf – READ CAREFULLY:
As you are aware, the NFLPA is currently no longer unionized.  However, it is essential that you are aware that state law still restricts your contact with football “underclassmen”.

The State of Oklahoma Uniform Athlete Agent Act (“UAAA”) and the University of Oklahoma Athlete Agent Policy require agents (and individuals acting as agents) to register themselves with both the Secretary of State and University prior to contacting any student-athlete.  Contact is defined in broad based terms and includes Facebook friending.

Contact of any type with a student-athlete who is not eligible to enter into a professional sports contract is prohibited.  Therefore, any contact by agents (or their associates, runners, etc.) with any University of Oklahoma football student-athletes who are not at least three (3) NFL seasons removed from high school would be a violation of both the State of Oklahoma UAAA and University of Oklahoma policy.  Any conduct contrary to the parameters of state law and/or university policy may subject you to both criminal and civil penalty.

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.