Sports Law

How The College Athletes Bill Of Rights Would Affect Sports Agents

There is a new bill in Congress, sponsored by Senators Booker, Blumenthal, Schatz, Wyden, and Padilla, that is titled, “College Athletes Bill of Rights.” If it is passed and signed into law, which is probably a long shot, then it will have consequences for the sports agent industry.

Part of the bill seeks to establish a “Commission on College Athletes,” which will have a purpose, in part, of ensuring that college athlete agents “faithfully represent the interests of college athletes.” The Commission will have the duty and authority of establishing standards with respect to the registration and annual certification of college athlete agents as well as agency fees charged by college athlete agents.

This would be a major change to the status quo, where sports agents who wish to represent college athletes must be licensed on a state-by-state basis dependent on where the recruited athletes are enrolled. If the Commission is established, then it will have the right to assess an annual certification fee for each college athlete agent.

Interestingly, the legislation expressly states that the Commission will not have the power to establish a standard requiring college athlete agents to attain a bachelor’s degree, an associate’s degree, or a graduate degree from an institution of higher education. This is a distinction from many players’ associations that do maintain such requirements.

While it has not come up as an issue, the bill further states that no state or political subdivision of a state may establish a law or regulation that seeks to preclude college athletes from securing representation from sports agents. It also says that states can no longer regulate and certify college athlete agents, but that does not mean that states will be taken completely out of the business of making money off of agents. The bill says that it does not intend to play a role with sports agents who are not college athlete agents. Thus, it is plausible that states will maintain their separate athlete agent laws, if the College Athletes Bill of Rights becomes law, with regard to agents who seek to recruit college athletes for the purpose of representing them during their professional careers.

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.