Overview of NCAA bylaws governing athlete agents: If a student-athlete enters into a prohibited agreement with an agent, the student-athlete is ineligible for intercollegiate competition.
FAQ on Uniform Athlete Agents Act: Information about the UAAA, a model state law that provides a means of regulating the conduct of athlete agents.
Example letter sent to basketball student-athletes: NCAA seeks to help student-athletes understand issues surrounding the NBA draft and agents.
List of agents Do’s and Don’ts: There are guidelines that agents should follow to comply with NCAA amateurism rules and the Uniform Athlete Agents Act.
Contact information: States that passed the Uniform Athlete Agents Act.
Question: Why are the issues surrounding agents so prevalent now? What has caused these issues to escalate?
Answer: First of all, we believe the rules are reasonably clear in this area, especially for student-athletes and for agents – there should be no confusion on what is and is not allowed.
Second, it is important to understand that the agents and amateurism oversight area has been in place at the national office for more than 10 years. We’ve always had a number of agent cases, but the media and others haven’t always tracked on them. We believe we have the resources necessary to dive into some of these issues now in a more comprehensive manner, and – more importantly – the message is being sent that we are going to.
It’s not a matter of whether the NCAA is finally getting around to investigating these issues, as has been reported in some cases – that’s not it at all. We have been working on this area for a long time.
Q: What factors have contributed to these issues being aired more publicly?
A: Social networking certainly plays a role now because everything is so much more public. We’re all living in a much more public world, putting information out there regularly for all to see. As a staff, we are able to connect some dots as we monitor some of that information. That has contributed to not only our being able to find out more about what’s going on in this area, but it also has contributed to inappropriate interaction or behavior being reported or called into question more publicly.
In addition to communication being more public, there also seem to be significantly more people now who are tired of witnessing the abuses that have gone on over time and are speaking up and providing information.
Q: What can we expect to be done about this?
A: From our standpoint, we believe the dialogue taking place will be extremely helpful and will lead to solutions. People are talking about this issue – which for a long time had been sort of the elephant in the room. It seemed as though everyone knew about agents and were concerned about addressing them, but people were timid to talk about it.
Now, people are trying to figure out ways to vet the issues and deal with them. That dialogue also is good because the agent issue is not one that just a single group or organization can solve on its own. It will take collaboration among a variety of organizations to make a difference.
Q: Who has to act?
A: All of us do. The professional leagues and players associations especially have to be involved. What often gets missed in all of this is that the NCAA and its members do not have jurisdiction over agents. The only people who can take action to regulate agents and people working for them are the players associations and various state agencies working to enforce agent law in those states that have it. While it is crucial for our coaches and student-athletes to stand up and share their thoughts about these issues, neither they nor their institutions have jurisdiction over agents.
Q: What can the NCAA do?
A: While the NCAA does not have jurisdiction over agents, our job is to educate coaches, administrators and student-athletes about NCAA rules and policies in the agent arena and monitor their compliance. Most schools do a great job of providing education about these issues.
It will be interesting to hear our membership talk about this in the coming months because there figures to be a healthy debate about how to address the matter. We want all the various stakeholders to have a voice.
Q: What sanctions are available when rules are broken?
A: Student-athletes that enter into an agreement or accept benefits from an agent lose their eligibility. The specific penalties for reinstatement depend on the severity of the violations, ranging from a repayment of the value of the benefits and sitting out games to permanent ineligibility.
For penalties to be levied against an institution for an agent violation, the institution must either have known or should have known or had culpability for those violations. Penalties are determined by the Committee on Infractions, which is an independent body of representatives from member institutions and the general public.
The intent of penalties is to ensure they are sufficient to deter schools from breaking the rules again, while also removing any competitive advantage a school may have gained by cheating.
Penalties are assessed case by case and vary depending on the severity of the violations and the specifics of the case. For example, if a school is found to have broken recruiting rules, it will likely face recruiting restrictions as a potential penalty. Penalties can include probationary periods, recruiting restrictions, scholarship reductions, vacation of records and bans on postseason competition, among others.