Charleston, W.Va. – With school back in session and fall sports seasons in full swing, the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office is warning athletes and athletic directors to be wary of people who approach them claiming to be agents.
Athletic directors across West Virginia will soon be receiving information from the Secretary of State’s Office informing them of the law regarding athlete agents.
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 a student-athlete.
People wishing to serve as athlete agents in West Virginia must register with the Secretary of State’s Office.
“There are athletes in West Virginia who have unlimited potential and have very lucrative careers ahead of them,” Secretary Tennant said. “It would be a shame if someone who didn’t have their best interests at heart tried to ruin their career before it even got started. Just like we want citizens to ask questions when they are solicited for a donation to a charity, we want athletes and athletic directors to ask questions when people claim to be agents. The legitimate ones will be willing to answer questions while the dishonest ones will slink back into the shadows from where they came.”
The Uniform Athlete Agents Act (West Virginia Code §30-39) also lists prohibited conduct. An athlete agent may not give materially false statements or make materially false promises, furnish anything of value to a student-athlete before the student-athlete enters into the agency contract, initiate contact with a student athlete if they are not registered with the Secretary of State, falsify their application or renewal forms, or predate or postdate an agency contract.
Penalties for violating certain sections of the Uniform Athlete Agents Act are severe: a felony conviction, up to a $50,000 fine, and one to three years in prison.
The complete Uniform Athlete Agents Act can be viewed on the West Virginia Legislature website at www.legis.state.wv.us, and a quick reference guide is available from the Secretary of State’s Office.