Athlete Agent Registration
Legal requirements governing persons who want to make contracts to become agents for student-athletes in West Virginia went into effect July 1, 2001. The "Uniform Athlete Agents Act," sets detailed restrictions and penalties to protect talented students who may be recruited by agents and professional sports organizations.
The requirements apply to anyone who solicits or enters into a contract in which a student-athlete authorizes a person to negotiate or solicit a professional sports contract or an endorsement contract on behalf of the student-athlete.
Student-athletes and potential agents both risk serious consequences if they fail to comply with the new law. This summary lists some important points, but any person who might be affected should read more about agent conduct and the full text of Uniform Athlete Agents Act. The new law:
- defines a student-athlete as a person who is or may in the future be eligible to participate in an intercollegiate sport;
- defines an athlete agent as a person who represents to the public that he or she is an athlete agent, or who directly or indirectly solicits or recruits a student-athlete to sign an agency contract, or who enters into an agency contract with a student-athlete, but exempts immediate family members of the student-athlete acting on behalf of a professional team.
- requires registration as an athlete agent before approaching a student about an agency contract;
- requires registration within seven days after a person acts as an athlete agent when communication has been initiated by the student or someone acting on the student's behalf;
- specifies the required form of the contract with the student-athlete;
- provides that the contract is void if the agent does not meet the registration requirements;
- requires notice be given to the athletic director of the school the student attends or plans to attend and sets time requirements for that notice;
- allows the student-athlete to cancel the contract within fourteen days, but does not assure the athlete will continue to be eligible as a student-athlete;
- requires the agent to keep records of who they represent, copies of the contracts, and itemization of direct costs incurred in recruitment, and to make those records open to inspection by the Secretary of State;
- establishes a felony crime with penalties of one to three years imprisonment and fines up to $50,000 for providing materially false information or promises, or for providing anything of value to a student-athlete or any other person before an agency contract is signed;
- establishes a misdemeanor crime with penalties of up to one year imprisonment and fines up to $500 for six specific actions, including initiating contact with a student-athlete without being registered;
- gives an educational institution the right to sue both the athlete agent and a former student-athlete for damages caused by the actions of the parties;
- establishes administrative penalties of up to $25,000 for violation of the Act.